Exercises for a Pelvic Fracture

Exercises for a fractured pelvis usually involve the kind of gentle, low-intensity movements used in rehabilitation. Most of them are done lying down and can help strengthen the muscles around your hips.

Glute bridges are a good exercise with a pelvic fracture.
Image Credit: fizkes/iStock/GettyImages

What Causes Fractures?

The pelvis is a butterfly-shaped bony structure that sits at the base of your spine, says Cedars-Sinai. It actually consists of three different bones held together by other tissues. Since it's such a big bone, there are many places where you can sustain a fracture.

You can break the ilium, one of the big bones that makes up the pelvis. Or, you can suffer a fracture of the sacrum, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. If you fear that you've broken any part of the pelvis, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. They can perform an X-ray or MRI test to see if and where the break occurred.

Read more: Pelvic Pain After Exercising

For the most part, pelvis fractures are caused by major trauma from bicycle or vehicle accidents, states the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. Another potential cause is a fall. This is more common in older people with osteoporosis, a disease that causes a decrease in hip bone density.

The Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute notes that a low-impact fracture might not require surgery. You can have a fracture of the pelvis, but if nothing is out of place, it might heal on its own.

One example of a nontraumatic pelvis fracture is a stress fracture, says New York University Langone Health. This type of injury is caused by repetitive high-impact activities, such as running. Having osteoporosis puts you at a greater risk.

Some fractures may require surgery. Either way, you should consider physical therapy for a fractured pelvis. Working with a professional can help ensure that you're doing each exercise properly and progressing in your rehab process.

Exercises for a Fractured Pelvis

Poole Hospital has a few suggestions for rehab for a fractured pelvis. They break the exercises down by position. Some are done lying on your back, some are done seated and others require standing or walking. All of the exercises for a fractured pelvis involve moving your leg to work the hip.

Move 1: Knee Flexion and Extension

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your legs out straight.
  2. Slide your left foot in toward your butt along the floor.
  3. Plant your left foot flat on the floor with your knee bent.
  4. Kick the foot back out until your leg is straight.
  5. Repeat 10 times per leg and complete three sets.

Move 2: Hip Abduction and Adduction

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your legs out straight.
  2. Slide your left leg to the left along the floor as far as you can.
  3. Slide the leg back into the center.
  4. Repeat for 10 reps on each leg and complete three sets.

Read more: Hip Alignment Exercises

Move 3: Bridging

  1. Lie on your back on the floor.
  2. Plant your feet flat on the floor and bend your knees.
  3. Lift your hips as high as you can, driving through your heels.
  4. Pause at the top for five seconds, then come back down.
  5. Complete 12 bridges for three sets total.

Move 4: Leg Extensions

  1. Roll up a towel to place under your leg.
  2. Lie on your back with both legs straight, recommends the Centre for Trauma Sciences.
  3. Put the towel under one knee and bend the other knee by planting your foot on the floor.
  4. Lift the shin of the leg on the towel until your knee is straight.
  5. Lower the foot back down to the floor.
  6. Repeat for 10 reps. Complete three sets per day.

Move 5: Foot Pumps

The Centre for Trauma Sciences also suggests foot pumps, which can help keep the blood flowing through your feet after surgery or if you've been off your feet for a while.

  1. Sit or lie down with your legs straight out.
  2. Press your toes down and squeeze your calf muscle.
  3. Then, point your toes up as high as you can.
  4. Move your foot back and forth quickly.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times every hour to keep blood moving.

Is This an Emergency?

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections, it is best to call your doctor before leaving the house if you are experiencing a high fever, shortness of breath or another, more serious symptom.
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