Can You Run with a Tailbone/Coccyx Injury? My Experience
Last summer, I fell down some slippery deck stairs and landed on my butt. I was basically immobilized for a couple days—it was excruciatingly painful to get out of bed, sit down, and even walk.
But like any normal runner, I was most concerned about my ability to get back to running. I even bawled a couple days into the injury because I was so frustrated by the multiple running setbacks I’d experienced that year, including this random injury.
It’s been over half a year since then, and I wanted to document my recovery timeline and what worked for me, in case it could help help others.
Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, so please do not take this post as medical advice. I’m simply offering my experience with a tailbone injury to encourage others going through the same thing. I did consult a physical therapist about my injury, but you should always see a PT or sports med doctor yourself if you can, as every person’s situation is different. Please do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of this post.
With all that necessary but boring legal stuff out of the way, here’s my experience.
The Initial Injury & Getting Back to Running
The darned stairs I fell down, though they weren’t covered in snow at the time
As some context, I’m a pretty avid runner, and I mostly train for half and full marathons (you can check out my race reviews). Running plays a huge role in my physical and mental well-being, and that’s why I was so bummed about this injury.
The first few days after my fall, I could barely walk. I felt extreme pressure in my tailbone area when I tried. I was unable to sit up in bed normally, and had to roll over onto my side to push myself up.
I didn’t see a doctor or get an X-ray, so I don’t know if my tailbone was fractured or just bruised. Based on my research, it seemed like treatment would really be the same either way (it’s not like you can get a butt cast lol), so I didn’t bother. My pain was bad, but my symptoms were improving, and I wasn’t having any trouble with bowel movements or urination. If you experience really severe issues like that, you should definitely see a doctor!
After a few days, I was able to walk slowly, but I still experienced pressure in the tailbone area. After about a week, I tried going on a short run. My physical therapist told me that if I didn’t feel pain, I could run.
I made it just over two miles before stopping, as the tailbone pressure was pretty strong. I decided to rest a bit more and just go on walks and bike rides instead (which surprisingly didn’t hurt, as my tailbone never touched the bike seat).
After two weeks, I was able to run normally, with minimal pain.
That said, it took my tailbone several months to fully recover. I still had trouble doing certain yoga poses and core exercises that required using or sitting on my tailbone. It really surprised me how I continued to have symptoms, but most tailbone/coccycx injuries do take weeks and months to heal (it is a bone, after all).
Your symptoms may be more or less severe—some people can run through the injury, while others need to take a few weeks off.
How I Treated My Tailbone Injury
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So what did I do to speed recovery? Really not much, to be honest. It was mostly a waiting game for me, but there were a couple things that eased my symptoms.
I didn’t experience too much pain while sitting (it was the getting up and down that hurt), but if it is difficult for you to sit, you may want to sit in a way that takes pressure off your tailbone. There are the infamous donut pillows (Amazon/eBay), but you can also just take a towel, roll it up, and shape it into a semicircle. Sit on the towel so that your tailbone is elevated from the chair and not touching the towel. See the below image for an example!
You’d want a thicker towel, but this is just for a demonstration
My physical therapist also recommended some stretches. One was simply pulling one knee into your chest while lying down, and the other was a variation where you pulled the knee to the opposite side of your chest. This helped relieve some of the tension in that area.
There are some other stretches you can do as well, such as pigeon pose and the figure four stretch.
I hope this post offers a little bit of encouragement to you! I wanted to write it since I didn’t find anything similar when I was injured, and I would’ve appreciated hearing others’ experiences.
Have you ever had a tailbone injury? What did you do to heal and get back to doing what you love?
Sending you best wishes for a speedy recovery!
You may also like:
10 Common Running Mistakes to Avoid
8 Tips to Prevent Running Injuries
Thank you for this article. I just had a fall on my butt a few days ago (gripless slippers on wet ground), and was wondering if I could run when my tailbone still hurts. This is helpful.
So glad it could help! Hope you feel better soon!
Also massively appreciated reading this. I have a half (my first) in one month’s time so hopefully I can run despite my butt fall 👍
Fingers crossed that you’ll be able to run the half! Cheering you on!
I have found this information very helpful.I also run for stress relief and to cope with grief.(I lost my mom in October) I fell down some stairs 4 days ago and am managing with a donut shaped pillow that arrived today and walking which is tough but gets easier after 5 minutes. Thank you.
I somehow missed this, but I’m so sorry about your mother. I hope you were able to get back to running quickly!
Thank you. I’m devastated.
I fell roller skating. Hit tailbone.
Was starting to get into a rhythm of Dunning, hit sessions, power walks etc… Now my bruised tail bone is stopping the runs and long walks.
Might try a short walk today. A week and a bit later…. Hit sessions too. I understand the tears. I feel so frustrated…..
Oh that’s the worst! I hope you get better soon and can get some rest in the meantime.
I’m having a big race in a few months time and i was really worried that my effort was going to go to waste after having trained so hard for so long. Slipped off a platform just today and landed on my tailbone, I’m hoping to be able to run again in a few days! Reading this post made me feel better about my chances of recovery, thanks a lot 🙂
I hope you feel better soon! Best of luck on that big race!!
Thanks for this. I fell a week ago and just needed some reassurance that it wasn’t going to be this painful forever, and I will be able to run soon!
I hope you feel better soon! Glad the post could help.
I also appreciate your time to write this. I just got back into running after a bad sprain from a canoe trip then a trip when I fell running mixed in with a foot tendinitis. I was totally pain free and running great then while xcs ing just standing I slipped onto ice and bruised my TB. Your post gives me hope.
Thank you for this! Was out on a run last week and slipped in some ice. Didn’t go to a doctor for the same reasons so . Tried running today and I barely made it a mile. Super frustrating considering I have an intense half marathon coming up in April. Your post gives me hope I can get back to it in another week. For now I’ll be doing a lot of stretching.
Thank you for that! This was exactly my question: when I’d be able to run again. I made an epic fall on asphalt directly on my tailbone (from my skateboard). Omg, it was so bad I even blacked out. Then my daily 10k looked like a distant future 🙂 Your post gave me a hope 🙂
Oof, that sounds like a horrible fall! I hope you’ll make a full recovery soon. I’m glad you’re safe after that and happy the post could help!
Hi Lily, I’m so grateful for this article – thank you for taking the time to write and share your experience. I’m a tree surgeon and had a bad fall a week ago, landing my coccyx on an Oak trunk. Sadly it meant missing my local Cardiff Half Marathon last Sunday, but I was also concerned about an upcoming run on June 11 – the Man v Horse in mid Wales (my homeland). Your article has given me a helpful and reassuring perspective. Hopefully I’ll be able to get race ready. Many thanks again. Enjoy your running and avoid wooden decks… they can be lethal! – Nathan
Thanks for sharing! Helpful to read for runner to runner! Happy training and thanks from chamonix!
Glad it could help! Feel better soon 🙂 Also, I love the French Alps and would love to visit Chamonix one day!
Mahalo, fell off a treadmill last week landed hard, bounced off the machine into granddaughter Rhea’s playhouse and okole been sore since. Yours is the only article found so far that gives hope will not have to wait a month or months before can get back to regular routine. It was my first session ever on a tread as was testing out nearby daughter’s new device. Got right back on it for over an hour and did do usual long run two days later but since then has been more sore so going to take some days off, and gradually ease back. Mahalo
I’m so sorry to hear that! I hope you’ll feel better soon. I’m glad this post could be helpful.
thank you, article very helpful I crashed downstairs i am also a runner and I am out of running 4 weeks nows, my walks are getting better, couldn’t walk a block on the beginning, I can bike with no issues. I do all those yoga stretches twice a day, I am so ready for run!!.
I hope you heal quickly and can get back into it soon!
Wow I’m so glad I found this article. I don’t know what I did to my tail bone but I am experiencing the exact same pain you had. I think it could be from running to hard. Getting back into running after post partum. I used to have pain from the way I bent over but now it’s just when I get up from sitting down. Now I have hope it can get better but it may just take some time. It’s been a week and a half of this pain.
I hope you feel better soon! Congrats on the baby <3 I know some people can actually damage their tailbones during birth. It could be related to that if you've been having pain since birth. I hope you get back to running soon and enjoy this special time in the meantime with your new family member 🙂