Pelvic stress fracture - "notoriously slow healing"?

As above, do these types of stress fractures take longer to heal than others?

8 messages
11/05/2012 at 19:55

I'm in the always helpful Googling stage of injury rehab, and I've come across several blogs and forums which claim stress fractures in the pelvis take an abnormally long time to heal. I was feeling quite pleased with my progress (three weeks in I have most of the mobility back in the leg but still no weight bearing). Now I'm bummed out again. Is this true, does it concur with anyone else's experience?

12/05/2012 at 18:52
Hi Weeble,
The things is Google, blogs, forums and research dont know you and how you heal. Everyone heals differently - maybe you're just ahead of the game and doing well! A lot of factors affect healing too, including smoking, general health, diet, alcohol consumption, normal level of bone density and how much you're weight bearing. People on these blogs might have a very different situation to you.
Did your consultant/ GP give you a timeframe?
Tom
13/05/2012 at 11:02
Hi, thanks for the response. No, no real timetable - just it varies and can take a while. I have an x-ray is six weeks which will be nine weeks post turning up in hospital and 10 weeks post detectable symptoms, to see if it's healed. I've been told best case I'll be able to walk-in, but I shouldn't be surprised if I'm still on crutches.

So you're not aware of any studies to suggest this site has poorer healing time than say the lower leg? People seem hung up on poor circulation being a factor.

Would you advise cutting out alcohol entirely? I've had a few drinks since coming off the painkillers but would drop it entirely if it will make an appreciable difference.
13/05/2012 at 12:51
I'm afraid the research I've seen does suggest a longer healing time than say a simple medial tibial stress fracture. This is multifactorial, probably a mixture of factors including blood supply to the area, the complexity of the pelvis and multiple muscles that attach to it (and therefore place multidirectional stresses on it). In addition the pelvis functions like a ring in weightbearing. Any weakness in this ring is then exposed when we take weight through our feet (imagine a hoola-hoop with a crack in, what would happen if you push on the top of it?!). Obviously it's not fragile, it can deal very well with weight bearing, but running requires a high level of impact so the fracture needs to be fully healed before you can run.
On the alcohol front I think it's most likely that a high level of alcohol consumption would have a negative effect but low to moderate levels of drinking probably make very little difference.
Here is an study from 2000 on pelvic fractures in military recruits (a lot of stress fracture studied are done in this population);
http://www.ais.up.ac.za/med/sport/navy.pdf
Hope that helps
Tom
14/05/2012 at 10:34

Thanks for the info. I guess it's going to be all about patience.

13/08/2012 at 13:21

Hi there! I have been diagnosed with the same thing - stress fracture in the pelvis (inferior pubic ramus). It has just been awful, especially since it wasn't diagnosed correctly until nearly 4 months after the injury (week before the London marathon, which I tried to run not knowing I had the fracture and nearly died of pain). There is a lot more on this if you look at the US Runners World  - e.g see this:

http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/injury-prevention/injuries/long-term-pelvic-stress-fracture-recovery-insanity

How are you recovering? I still feel like I am quite a long way off training again, but that could be because I kept trying to run on it!

HMH
17/04/2013 at 23:58
Hi Rebecca, what's happened to you is a mirror image. I've just been diagnosed after 6months. MRI a few weeks ago. Now I'm told no running for 3-4 months but can do other exercises. How is your injury now and are you back running pain free?
18/04/2013 at 18:39

Hi HMH and Rebecca - I missed your original post. How's recovery going?

Mine turned out to be the femoral neck and not the pelvis in the end (I was a bit of a mess at the first appt and not taking much in.)

It's been a slow process! When I posted I was entirely non-weight bearing and didn't ditch the crutches until July. I started walk-running in September, built up too quickly up until Christmas and had a lot of pain so cut right back in the new year. I am running now but very low mileage - about 12 miles a week and I need a couple of rest days between runs to let the discomfort ease off.

It's now a year since I did it and if you'd told me it would take this long to still not be fully fixed I'd probably have screamed at you. I've learnt that you do just have to be patient and not push it too much. I'm still a bit naughty in that I'll run through a niggle, but do cut back at any pain/limping.

I've signed up to a half in the autumn so I'm starting a very low intensity training schedule, and hoping that I make the start line. I had optimistically signed up for this year's Brighton marathon and clearly that didn't happen!


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