Pelvic Avulsion Fractures In Children

What is a pelvic avulsion fracture?

A pelvic avulsion fracture (FRAK-chur) occurs when a piece of pelvic (hip) bone breaks and tears away. This happens when a tendon or ligament connected to the hip bone tightens so hard it pulls off part of the bone. Teenagers are more likely to have this injury than younger children.

What causes a pelvic avulsion fracture?

A pelvic avulsion fracture may happen during any of the following:

  • Activities or sports that need quick running starts and quick stopping, such as soccer, tennis, or football. Hurdlers, sprinters, and long-jumpers are at an increased risk of having this fracture.

  • Doing leg splits, particularly cheerleaders or gymnasts.

  • Direct injury to your child's hip area such as a hard tackle in rugby or football.

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

Your child may have a sudden pain or feel a pop in his hip or groin during an activity. The groin is the area where your child's abdomen (belly) meets his upper leg. Your child may have trouble moving his hip and leg, or have trouble sitting. The pain is often worse when the affected area is touched. Your child may also have trouble walking or may not be able to walk at all.

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture diagnosed?

Your child may have one or more of the following:

  • Bone scan: During this test, pictures are taken of your child's bones. Your child is given a small, safe amount of radioactive dye in an IV. Caregivers can look at the pictures for broken bones, infection, or cancer in the bones.

  • 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 child's hip area. Your child may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help caregivers see the pictures better. People who are allergic to iodine or shellfish (lobster, crab, or shrimp) may be allergic to some dyes. Tell your child's caregiver if your child is allergic to shellfish or has 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 child's hips.

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

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture treated?

A mild pelvic avulsion fracture caused by activity is usually treated with rest alone. Medicine to decrease pain may be given so that your child can move as early as possible. After your child's fracture has healed, an exercise program may be suggested to help his hip heal faster. Your child may need to use crutches to decrease stress on his hips. A pelvic avulsion fracture that is severe or does not heal with other treatments may need surgery. Surgery helps return 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 child with pelvic avulsion fracture may be life-changing for you and your family. Accepting that your child has 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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