Coccyx or Sacrum Bruise (Contusion) (Child)

Your child has a bruise (contusion of the tailbone (coccyx) or sacrum. The tailbone and the area above it (sacrum) are at the base of the spine, near the top of the buttocks. This area is not protected by much fat or muscle. A fall directly on this area may cause a bruise of the coccyx. This is commonly called a bruised tailbone. A bruised tailbone is often very painful. As it heals, the bruise will typically change in color from reddish, to purple-blue, to greenish-yellow, then to yellow-brown.  Swelling takes days or weeks to go away. The bruise may go away in a few weeks. Pain may take a few weeks to a month or longer to go away.

Home care

Follow these guidelines when caring for your child at home:

  • Your child’s healthcare provider may prescribe medicines for pain and inflammation. Follow all instructions for giving these to your child.

  • Use cool compresses, cold packs, or ice packs to help reduce swelling and pain. A cool compress is a clean cloth that’s damp with cold water. Use this on a baby or toddler. A cold pack is a gel pouch that is put in the freezer to chill. It’s then wrapped in a thin, dry cloth before use. An ice pack is ice in a plastic bag wrapped in a thin, dry cloth. Cold packs and ice packs are for older children. Apply one of these to the bruised area for up to 20 minutes. Repeat this every hour while your child is awake. Continue for 1 or 2 days or as instructed.

  • Allow your child to rest as needed.

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider what position your child should sleep in.

  • Don't let your child sit for long periods of time. It may help for your child to sit on a pillow or doughnut-shaped cushion. This is to ease pressure on the area.

  • After stopping the use of cold on the area and after all swelling has resolved, start using warm compresses. A warm compress is a clean cloth that’s damp with warm water. Apply this to the area for 10 minutes, several times a day.

  • Follow any other instructions you were given.

  • Keep in mind that bruising may take several weeks to go away.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider, or as advised.

Special note to parents

Healthcare providers are trained to see injuries such as this in young children as a sign of possible abuse. You may be asked questions about how your child was injured. Healthcare providers are required by law to ask you these questions. This is done to protect your child. Please try to be patient.

When to seek medical advice 

Call your child's healthcare provider right away your child has any of these:

  • Bruising that gets worse

  • Pain or swelling that doesn't get better, or gets worse

  • Trouble with urination or bowel movements

  • Numbness or weakness in the groin or legs

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