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What Are Pubic Rami?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The pubic rami are a group of bones that make up a portion of the pelvic bone. Each of these bones, when referred to individually, is known as a pubic ramus. These bones are generally divided into two separate categories, known as the superior and inferior pubic rami.

This group is made up of four bones in the pelvic area of the body. There are two sets, each consisting of a superior as well as an inferior ramus. These bones are located on both the right and left sides of the pelvis.

The pubic rami are a part of the ilium, the largest of the pelvic bones. Both the right and left rami are significant in that they serve as an area of attachment for some of the larger muscles of the thigh. This aids in many different types of movement.

Some pelvic movements become possible when the left and right superior bones articulate together through the pubic symphysis. This is a joint made primarily of cartilage. The pubic symphysis actually connects the two sides of the superior rami to one another. This joint works with the superior rami to aid in activities such as walking or even delivering a baby.

Due to the fact that the pubic rami are part of the pelvic bone itself, they serve to help protect various organs of the body, including the colon and the bladder. The legs are connected to the body through their attachment to these bones as well.

There are some conditions that can cause pain or injury to the pelvic bones. Pregnancy can cause particular discomfort in this area of the body due in part to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Changes in posture due to the added weight of pregnancy and the position of the baby can also cause pain in the pelvic region. Chiropractic care during pregnancy can often reduce some of this discomfort.

Osteoarthritis is another condition known to frequently affect the pubic rami. This bone disease can occur in both males and females, although it is much more prevalent among women. Frequently, when a patient suffering from osteoarthritis falls, it is these bones that become fractured. Immediate medical attention is required in this instance, and surgery is almost inevitable.

What Is Pubic Rami Fracture?

A pubic ramus fracture is a specific type of bone fracture that involves the pelvis. There are multiple bones that come together to make up the pelvis, and there are thin bones that come together at the front of the pubic symphysis. This is where the pubic rami are located. If you suffer a fracture of the pubic rami, you need to give your body time to recover. There is also a chance that you may need surgery to repair this break. In some cases, you may suffer a crack only on one-half of the pubic rami. In other cases, you may suffer a fracture in both areas.

What Is the Cause of a Pubic Rami Fracture? 

There are a number of reasons why someone may suffer a bone fracture in this area. For example, some people might be involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. If you sustain direct trauma to the pelvis, you could be at risk of suffering a fracture of the pubic rami. A serious fall injury can also lead to this type of bone fracture.

There are a number of factors that could make it more likely for you to suffer this injury; however, one of the biggest risk factors is the development of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis takes place when your bone density shrinks significantly. If your bones are not as dense as they should be, they are easier to fracture. As a result, you might be more likely to suffer a fracture of the pelvis.

What Does it Mean When Pubic Rami Is Grossly Intact?

If you are diagnosed with a fracture of the pubic ramus, you might be wondering what the treatment process is. It depends on how severe the bone fracture is. Usually, the doctor will order an X-ray to take a closer look at the pelvis. There are some situations where the doctor may describe the pubic rami as grossly intact. What this means is that your pelvis has retained its typical shape.

If you only suffer a few cracks in your pelvis, the bones may still be where they should be. As a result, you might not need surgery to put the pelvis back together. In this case, the doctor may describe the pubic rami as grossly intact.

On the other hand, if you suffer a particularly severe fracture, then your pelvis might be in multiple pieces. For example, the pubic ramus might have broken into multiple parts. As a result, a surgeon will have to put them back together. In this case, the pubic ramus is not grossly intact, and the treatment process might be a bit different.

How Long Does a Pubic Rami Fracture Take To Heal?

So, if you are diagnosed with this injury, how long will it take you to recover? As long as you're pubic rami are so grossly intact, you should expect to recover in a few months. In general, if you are in good health, you should recover in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. On the other hand, if you suffer from chronic medical complications, such as diabetes and obesity, it might take you a bit longer to recover. There are a number of factors that might impact the recovery time.

What if I Need Surgery?

If you have been diagnosed with a severe fracture of the pubic ramus, you might need surgery to put the bones back together. If this is the case, your recovery time will be a bit longer. For example, it will take a few weeks for your surgical incision to heal. Then, the bones have to fuse together again. Instead of taking a few weeks to recover, it might take you several months. Then, you might have to undergo physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the injury location.

What Are the Most Common Complications?

Not everyone is going to be diagnosed with complications following this injury; however, you may experience a few issues along the way. For example, during the recovery process, you may experience some groin pain. You may experience pain in your legs as well. As the recovery process continues, you should expect these complications to subside. The muscles surrounding your pelvis will get stronger again, providing more support to other areas of the body. As a result, pain in your groin and your legs should begin to subside. If the pain does not get better, you might need to enroll in physical therapy. This is something you should talk about with your doctor.

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Discussion Comments

By anon939565 — On Mar 14, 2014

My Gray's Anatomy disagrees with one detail - the pubis is not part of the ilium. Each side of the of the pelvis (called an os coxa) is formed of three bones - the ilium, ischium and pubis. The ischium forms the inferior portion of the pelvis, the ilium the 'wings' and the pubis the anterior, inferior portion, terminating in the pubic symphysis at the ventral aspect of the pelvis. These three bones fuse in late adolescence, but are referred to separately. The collective term is, as above, os coxa.

By sapphire12 — On May 12, 2011

While they protect fragile organs, these bones can be fragile as well. Even a simple fracture in the pelvic area could be very painful and take a long time to heal fully.

By SarahG — On May 11, 2011

Thank you for explaining what the pubis ramus is so clearly. Your explanation of pain in the pubic rami during pregnancy was like a light bulb going off. My daughter is pregnant and complains of discomfort in this area all the time. Thanks for mentioning a visit to a chiropractor, I wouldn't have thought of that.

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