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I fell cross-country skiing and hit hard on my tailbone.

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Posted on Wed, 6 Mar 2019
Question: I fell cross-country skiing and hit hard on my tailbone. I was able to get up, ski back to the car, and drive home. After 2 hours since the fall, there is soreness in the area while sitting/getting to my feet, but I can walk and stand with no difficulty. There is no visible bruising. Should I follow up with a doctor/x-ray? I am old - 79.
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Answered by Dr. Aaron Branch (33 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
See below

Detailed Answer:
Hello, I'm Dr. Branch, thanks for using Ask a Doctor. Still cross-country skiing at 79 years old? That's very impressive. At your age we certainly do think about fractures, especially hip fractures, after a fall. However, usually if there was a hip fracture you would not be able to easily walk. Fractures to the tailbone are also possible but less likely and usually these injuries can heal with conservative (non-surgical) treatment.

Unless you really want to find out if there is a fracture right away, I think it would be reasonable to wait about a week and see if it is getting better on its own. You can take pain medications like Tylenol (and possibly anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen, but at your age I would be cautious with these as they can have serious side effects). Also using a cushion or donut when you sit can help with the pain. If after a week the pain is still significant and not getting much better, then I would say it would be reasonable to see your doctor about getting an x-ray to look for a fracture.

I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any questions about that and I would be glad to discuss it further with you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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Dr. Aaron Branch

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2011

Answered : 917 Questions

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I fell cross-country skiing and hit hard on my tailbone.

Brief Answer: See below Detailed Answer: Hello, I'm Dr. Branch, thanks for using Ask a Doctor. Still cross-country skiing at 79 years old? That's very impressive. At your age we certainly do think about fractures, especially hip fractures, after a fall. However, usually if there was a hip fracture you would not be able to easily walk. Fractures to the tailbone are also possible but less likely and usually these injuries can heal with conservative (non-surgical) treatment. Unless you really want to find out if there is a fracture right away, I think it would be reasonable to wait about a week and see if it is getting better on its own. You can take pain medications like Tylenol (and possibly anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen, but at your age I would be cautious with these as they can have serious side effects). Also using a cushion or donut when you sit can help with the pain. If after a week the pain is still significant and not getting much better, then I would say it would be reasonable to see your doctor about getting an x-ray to look for a fracture. I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any questions about that and I would be glad to discuss it further with you.