Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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Coccydynia facts

  • Coccydynia is inflammation localized to the tailbone.
  • There are many mimics of coccydynia.
  • Symptoms and signs of coccydynia include focal pain and tenderness at the tailbone. The pain is usually dull and achy.
  • Injury is the major risk factor for coccydynia.
  • Coccydynia is diagnosed based on the history and physical examination.
  • Conservative measures usually resolve coccydynia.

What is coccydynia?

Inflammation of the tailbone (coccyx or bony area located deep between the buttocks above the anus) is referred to as coccydynia. Coccydynia is associated with pain and tenderness at the tip of the tailbone between the buttocks. The pain is often worsened by sitting.

What causes coccydynia?

Coccydynia is often caused by an injury, but it may occur seemingly spontaneously. There are many causes of tailbone pain that can mimic coccydynia, including sciatica, infection (including shingles of the buttocks), pilonidal cysts, sacroiliitis, and fractured bone (broken tailbone or tailbone fracture).

What are risk factors for coccydynia?

The major risk factor for coccydynia is injury to the coccyx or pelvic bones.

What are coccydynia symptoms and signs?

Pain and local tenderness at the tailbone are the major symptoms of coccydynia. This can lead to difficulty sitting or leaning against the buttocks. Along with the pain with sitting, there is typically exquisite tenderness at the tailbone area.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/22/2016

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