Abdominal X-ray - Abnormal soft tissues and bones
Fractures and osteoarthritis

Key points

  • Abdominal pain or tenderness may be caused by bone or joint disease

It is not uncommon for patients with bone disease to present complaining of abdominal pain. Doctors often ascribe abdominal symptoms to gastrointestinal disorders without considering other causes.

Tenderness on palpation of the abdomen may be due to radiated bone pain.

If you suspect bone disease then request dedicated X-rays(s) of the bone or joint in question, rather than an abdominal X-ray.

Pelvic fracture and osteoarthritis

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Pelvic fracture and osteoarthritis

  • This elderly patient presented with abdominal pain with no clear history of trauma
  • Tenderness in the suprapubic regions was thought to be due to intra-abdominal pathology
  • The pubic ramus fractures was the cause of symptoms
  • Note the osteoarthritic appearances of the hips and lumbar spine

Page author: Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust UK (Read bio)

Last reviewed: October 2019