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Pelvic Avulsion Fractures in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

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. Teenagers are more likely to have this injury than younger children.

Hip and Pelvis

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

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

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture diagnosed?

  • X-rays or a CT scan of your child's pelvis may be taken to check for broken bones. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help the fracture show up better in pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • A bone scan is a test that is done to look at your child's bones. The bone scan shows areas where your child's bone is broken. Your child will get a radioactive liquid, called a tracer, through a vein in his or her arm. The tracer collects in your child's bones and shows up in pictures.

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture treated?

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not give your child other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to a healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your child's provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children younger than 6 months without direction from a healthcare provider.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Bed rest will help protect your child's hip while the fracture heals.
  • Apply ice on your child's 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 for a fracture that is severe or does not heal with other treatments. Pins, screws, or plates may be used to hold the pieces in the correct positions.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child has increased swelling, pain, or redness in his or her hip.
  • Your child has trouble moving his or her leg or foot.
  • Your child's leg feels numb.

When should I call my child's doctor?

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has new symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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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