Pelvic stress fracture - "notoriously slow healing"?

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?


  • 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?

  • Weeble.Weeble. ✭✭✭
    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.
  • 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);

    Hope that helps

  • Weeble.Weeble. ✭✭✭

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

  • 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:

    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!

  • 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?
  • Weeble.Weeble. ✭✭✭

    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!

  • Hi,

    I have just been diagnosed with a pelvic stress fracture after being injured in July (6 months on). I have been swimming and using the cross trainer but still have constant pain when walking. I feel like there is no end to this hell image How long have people suffered for until they were able to run again?

  • Hi Bridie


    How are you healing 4 months later?

    My pubic ramus stress fracture occurred in November 2015, had to stop midday through a run and hobble home, couldn't put any weight on it the next day. Doctor diagnosed muscle strain(!), along with physio, wasn't actually diagnosed with the stress fracture until an xray at the beginning of March. Up until then I had tried a few short runs but felt things weren't right as still in pain. Right from January I continued using the cross trainer, bike and have been attending 2 spin classes a week - all pain free - to keep up my fitness. Also lots of strength exercises on glutes, etc and stretches. I've just started running again (after a good 3 months off) - started off with just a mile 3 times a week, then slowly increased it up to 2 miles. I'm working up to 3 miles and if that's still totally pain free I'm hoping it's a sign of the stress fracture being completely healed - fingers crossed.

    It's so hard to not run - especially when you see other runners out there pounding the streets and your FB feed is full of your running friends attending races - but so glad that I didn't push things once diagnosed. Hoping to run Cardiff Half in October - watch this space.

  • Hi Kerrie,

    So i had an mri scan and have officially healed. I went back to physio for the first time on monday and have since been advised to return to normal activity and walking. It is very tight at the top of my leg/front of my hip but no pain in the actual fracture area. Did you have the same tight/uncomfortable feeling? I'm scared it'll return if i walk too much!

  • Hi Bridie, sympathies. Have you checked with a specialist running physio if there's a hip flexor problem or something as well as the (now healed) stress fracture?

    My pelvic ramus stress fracture was visible on x-ray three days after the London Marathon, when at 16 miles or so my niggling groin pain suddenly changed to my being unable to lift my leg (I walk/hobbled the last 10 miles, which took forever). Gutted as I was supposed to be running Comrades. I've been very good and rested - swimming with arms only (using a pull buoy) and no cycling either. I did walk North Beach parkrun on Saturday (five weeks on) and that seemed okay. Next x-ray is in a week, at the six week mark. Hoping it will show good healing. I can now get into bed normally and so on, which is a distinct improvement.

  • For those of u whose fractures have healed did u cross train in between or total rest? 5months in and still not healed here 😣
  • I rested TOTALLY (crutches for the first week, then minimised even walking, and my only exercise was that I swam arms-only with my legs supported with a pull buoy) and was cleared to run after the six-weeks x-ray. Restarted running at about 7.5 weeks, initially short distances gently barefoot on grass but increasing fairly quickly after the first few weeks. I'd decided to rest properly because I'd read lots of personal experiences online where people had cross-trained and were still not running 6+ months later. Since returning to running I've completed more than 60 marathons/ultras, including Comrades in both directions, 10-marathons-in-10-days in late 2017, 10x50K in 10 days in late 2018, a 100-mile event and a hilly 86-miler - with no further problems.
Sign In or Register to comment.