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Coccyx or Sacrum Contusion

You have a contusion (bruise) of the coccyx or sacrum. The sacrum is the triangular bone at the base of the spine that joins the pelvic bones. The coccyx (tailbone) is the last bone of the sacrum that hangs down in a point like a small tail. Symptoms include swelling and some bleeding under the skin. This injury generaly takes a few weeks to heal. During that time, the bruise will typically change in color from reddish, to purple-blue, to greenish-yellow, then to yellow-brown. A crack (fracture) in the coccyx bone causes the same symptoms as a contusion in this area. Often, x-rays are not taken since the treatment is the same. If you have fracture of the tailbone as well as a contusion, healing generally takes about four weeks or longer.

Home care

  • Try to find a position of comfort. Try lying on your side with your knees bent up towards your chest and a pillow between your knees.

  • A bruised tailbone causes pain when sitting. You may try using a donut pillow. This is a foam pillow with a hole in the center to prevent pressure on the tailbone. You can buy this at a pharmacy or orthopedic supply store.

  • Ice the injured area to help reduce pain and swelling. Wrap a cold source (ice pack or ice cubes in a plastic bag) in a thin towel. Apply to the bruised area for 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours the first day. Continue this 3 to 4 times a day until the pain and swelling goes away.

  • Unless another medication was prescribed, you can take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to control pain. (If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.)

Follow up

Follow up with your health care provider or our staff as advised. Call if you are not improving within 2 weeks.

When to seek medical advice 

Call your health care provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Increased pain or swelling

  • Pain that becomes worse or spreads to one or both legs

  • Weakness or numbness in one or both legs

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

  • Numbness in the groin area

  • Signs of infection, including warmth, drainage, or increased redness

  • Frequent bruising for unknown reasons


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