Straddle Injuries

ExitCare ImageA straddle injury is an injury to the crotch area that occurs when a person falls while straddling an object. The area injured can involve the soft tissues, external genitalia, urinary organs, or rectum. Straddle injuries may result in a simple bruise (contusion) or abrasion. They can also cause more serious damage to genital organs, the urinary tract, or pelvic bones. These injuries occur in both children and adults and in both males and females.

CAUSES

  • Blunt trauma, such as landing on a bicycle crossbar, a fence, or playground equipment.

  • Penetrating injury, such as being impaled by a sharp object.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms vary depending on the type and severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain.

  • Bleeding.

  • Bruising.

  • Swelling.

  • Difficulty urinating.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver will perform a physical exam. You will be asked about your medical history and the details of how the injury occurred. Various tests may be ordered, such as:

  • X-rays.

  • Computed tomography (CT) to check for bowel damage.

  • Retrograde urethrography. This test uses dye and X-ray images to find any problems in the tube that carries urine from the bladder (urethra). This test is usually done in males.

TREATMENT

Treatment will depend on the location and severity of the injury:

  • A soft tissue injury that results in a simple contusion can be managed with cold compresses to reduce swelling. Your caregiver may also prescribe medicines or creams to help manage pain.

  • More severe injuries, such as a damaged urethra or a pelvic bone fracture, may require the insertion of a tube (suprapubic catheter) to drain urine. This catheter will drain the urine in the weeks or months it takes for the damaged area to heal.  

  • A penetrating injury may require immediate surgery to:  

  • Stop severe bleeding (hemorrhage).  

  • Provide drainage of accumulated urine and blood.  

  • Realign the urethra.  

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Rest and limit your activity as directed by your caregiver.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines as directed by your caregiver.

  • For a contusion, put ice on the injured area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15-20 minutes, 03-04 times per day. Do this for the first 2 days after the injury or as directed by your caregiver.

  • Follow up with your caregiver as directed.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have increased bruising, swelling, or pain.  

  • Your pain is not relieved with medicine.  

  • Your urine becomes bloody or blood tinged.  

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have severe pain.  

  • You have difficulty starting your urine or you cannot urinate.

  • You have pain while urinating.

  • You have a fever or persistent symptoms for more than 2–3 days.

  • You have a fever and your symptoms suddenly get worse.

  • You have shaking chills.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.