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Pelvic Avulsion Fractures in Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is a pelvic avulsion fracture?

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

Hip and Pelvis

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

  • Sudden pain or a pop in your hip or groin during an activity
  • Pain that gets worse when the affected area is touched
  • Swelling and trouble moving your hip and leg, or trouble sitting or walking

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture diagnosed?

  • X-rays or a CT scan of your pelvis may be used to check for broken bones. You may be given contrast liquid to help a break show up better in the pictures. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • A bone scan may show areas where your bone is broken. You will get a radioactive liquid, called a tracer, through a vein in your arm. The tracer collects in your bones and can be seen in pictures.

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture treated?

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Bed rest will help protect your pelvis while the fracture heals.
  • Apply ice on your hip for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Crutches or a walker may be needed to keep weight off the area until it heals.
  • Surgery may be needed if the fracture is severe or does not heal with other treatment. Pins, screws, or plates may be used to hold the bones in the correct positions while they heal.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have increased swelling, pain, or redness in your hip.
  • You have trouble moving your leg or foot.
  • Your leg feels numb.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have new symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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