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Tailbone (Coccyx) Fracture

Your tailbone (coccyx) is the bone at the very end of your spine. Most tailbone injuries are caused by a “seated” fall or direct blow. Often, the area around your tailbone is just bruised. But sometimes the bone itself may break (fracture). A tailbone fracture can be very painful and may take some time to heal.

Side view of male torso showing spine and tailbone.

Risk factors

Women are more likely to injure their tailbones than men. That's because the bone is more exposed in women. In some cases, tailbones can fracture during childbirth.

When to go to the Emergency Room (ER)

Tailbone injuries are likely to cause pain, swelling, and bruising. Sitting or having a bowel movement may be especially painful. Still, most tailbone fractures are not medical emergencies. Go to your healthcare provider for treatment. Seek emergency care if you have extreme pain, tingling, or weakness in one or both legs.

What to expect in the ER

Here is what will happen in the ER: 

  • A healthcare provider will examine your tailbone. This is done by gently inserting a gloved finger into your rectum.

  • X-rays may be taken to check the extent of the injury.

  • You may be given medicine to ease discomfort.


There is no way to hold a fractured tailbone in place. For that reason, treatment focuses on making you more comfortable while the injury heals. You may be told to ice your injury for a day or two to help relieve swelling and pain. During healing, a special pillow or cushion may be recommended to protect your tailbone while you sit. Surgery for a traumatic coccyx injury may be indicated if there is no response to the above treatments.


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