Coccyx Fracture

(Tailbone Fracture; Broken Tailbone)

Pronounced: cox-ix


A coccyx fracture is a break in the tailbone. This is the lowest part of the spine.

The Coccyx

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This injury is caused by trauma from:

  • Falls
  • A blow to the tailbone
  • The childbirth process

It can also happen when straining or from friction, such as when rowing or biking.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise your risk are:

  • Having a health problem that may result in falls, such as weak muscles
  • Having a health problem that may weaken bones, such asosteoporosis
  • Playing contact sports, such as hockey


Symptoms may be:

  • Pain that is worse when sitting
  • Pain that is worse during a bowel movement


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. The doctor will also ask how the injury happened. A physical exam will be done, focusing on your spine. A rectal exam may also be done. X-rays may or may not be needed.


The fracture will need time to heal on its own. This can take 8 to 12 weeks. Medicine can help ease pain and swelling.


Surgery for this injury is rare. It may be done to remove the coccyx when all other options have been tried.


Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones and muscles may prevent injury. This may be done through diet and exercise.


American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation


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Accessed September 24, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM