Understanding Straddle Injury
A straddle injury is when trauma occurs to the groin area between the thighs. It can happen from straddling a hard object, or accidents such as falling onto a bicycle crossbar.
The injury can cause damage to the outer genitals. In women, this is the vulva. It includes the outer and inner labia and the clitoris. In men, this includes the scrotum, testes, and penis. The groin area will likely be bruised, bleeding, and painful. The injury can also damage the tube that sends urine out of the body (urethra), especially for men. A straddle injury may also hurt the area between the genitals and the anus called the perineum. Severe injury can cause breaks in bones in the pelvis. Falling on a sharp object can cause more severe damage to the area and damage to internal tissues, such as the vagina or rectum.
What causes straddle injury?
The injury can happen in many ways, such as a sporting accident or falling while straddling any of these:
Fence or wall
Edge of bathtub
Arm of a couch or chair
Symptoms of straddle injury
Trouble urinating, especially for men
Nausea or vomiting, if testicles are damaged
Blood blister under the skin called hematoma
Treatment for straddle injury
Treatments can include:
Bandage. Your healthcare provider may put a bandage over any area that’s bleeding. Keep the bandage clean and dry. Change it as often as instructed.
Cold compress. This is a cloth wet with cold water, or a cold pack from the refrigerator. It can help lessen swelling and pain. Wrap the cold pack with a thin cloth. Don’t put it directly on your skin. Put the cold compress on the area for 15 to 20 minutes, several times a day for 2 to 3 days.
Sitz bath. This means sitting in a shallow tub of warm water. You can have a sitz bath in a bathtub. Or you can have a sitz bath using a special basin that fits over the rim of a toilet.
Pain medicine. You may be given medicine to help relieve pain. Or you may be told to take over-the-counter medicine from a drugstore. Take the medicine as instructed.
Suprapubic cystostomy. This is a thin, flexible tube (catheter) put into your bladder through a small cut in your lower belly. It’s used to drain urine while your urethra heals. A small plastic bag connects to the end of the tube to collect urine. The tube may be left in place for several weeks or more.
Surgery. In some cases, the healthcare provider needs to make repairs to the area. The provider may stitch cuts in the skin or fix internal areas that are torn. Your provider will give you more information if you need surgery.
Possible complications of straddle injury
Ongoing problems urinating and need for repair surgery
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed
Pain that gets worse or isn’t better with medicine
Other symptoms that don’t get better, or get worse
Blood in your urine
Other new symptoms
February 28, 2018
Davis JE. Male Genitourinary Emergencies. In: Adams JG, editor. Emergency Medicine. 2 ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2013. p. 969-75., Kovell RC, et al. Urinary and Genital Trauma. In: Hanno P, editor. Penn Clinical Manual of Urology. 2 ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2014. p. 251-83., McAninch JW, et al. Straddle injuries to the bulbar urethra: management and outcomes in 78 patients. Journal of Urology. 2004 February;171 (2 Pt 1):722-5., Mendez DR. Straddle injuries in children: Evaluation and management. Up To Date. April 13 ed: Up To Date; 2015. p. 11., Runyon MS, et al. Genitourinary Trauma. In: Adams JG, editor. Emergency Medicine. 2 ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2013. p. 716-25.
Ogiela, Dennis M, MD,Ziegler, Olivia, MS, PA