Pelvic Avulsion Fractures In Adults

What is a pelvic avulsion fracture?

A pelvic avulsion fracture occurs when a part of the pelvic (hip) bone breaks and tears away. This happens when a muscle or tendon connected to the hip bone suddenly tightens so hard it pulls off part of the bone.

What causes a pelvic avulsion fracture?

A pelvic avulsion fracture may be caused by any of the following:

  • Activities or certain sports that need speed and sudden stops, such as hurdling, sprinting, long-jumping, or playing soccer.

  • Trauma, such as car accidents.

  • Overuse of the hip muscles.

  • Other bone problems, such as infection or cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of a pelvic avulsion fracture?

You may feel a pop or have sudden pain in your hip or groin during an activity. The groin is the area where your abdomen meets your upper leg. You may have swelling and trouble moving your hip and leg. The pain is often worse when the affected area is touched.

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture diagnosed?

You may have one or more of the following:

  • Bone scan: This is a test done to look at the bones in your body. The bone scan shows areas where your bone is diseased or damaged. You will get a radioactive liquid, called a tracer, through a vein in your arm. The tracer collects in your bones. Pictures will then be taken to look for problems. Examples of bone problems include fractures (breaks) and infection.

  • Computerized tomography scan: This test is also called a CT or CAT scan. This is a type of x-ray that uses computers to take pictures of your hip area. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help your caregiver see the pictures better. People who are allergic to iodine or shellfish (lobster, crab, or shrimp) may be allergic to some dyes. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to shellfish or have other allergies or medical conditions.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging scan: This test is also called an MRI. The test uses magnetic waves to take pictures of your hips.

  • X-rays: You may need x-rays of the pelvis to check for broken bones or other problems in your hip. Several pictures of your hips may be taken.

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture treated?

A mild pelvic avulsion fracture may be treated with rest alone. Pain medicine may be given so that you can move as early as possible to prevent other problems. After your fracture has healed, an exercise program may be suggested to help your hip heal faster. You may need to use crutches to decrease stress on your hips. A pelvic avulsion fracture that is severe or does not heal with other treatments may need surgery. Surgery helps return the bones to their normal position by putting them together with metal pins, screws, or plates.

Where can I find support and more information?

Having a pelvic avulsion fracture may be life-changing for you and your family. Accepting that you have a pelvic avulsion fracture may be hard. You may contact the following for more information:

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
    6300 North River Road
    Rosemont , IL 60018-4262
    Phone: 1- 847 - 823-7186
    Web Address:

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