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Pelvic Avulsion Fractures in Children


What is a pelvic avulsion fracture?

A pelvic avulsion fracture 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 that it pulls off part of the bone. Teenagers are more likely to have this injury than younger children.

Bones of the Pelvis

What causes a pelvic avulsion fracture?

Activities or sports that involve quick running starts and quick stopping may cause a pelvic avulsion fracture. Examples are soccer, tennis, rugby, or football. Hurdlers, sprinters, long-jumpers, cheerleaders, and gymnasts are also at an increased risk of this fracture.

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. He 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 he may not be able to walk at all.

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 a dye before the scan. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • 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 arm. The tracer collects in your child's bones, and pictures will be taken.

How is a pelvic avulsion fracture treated?

  • Pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely.
  • 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. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Bed rest will be needed while your child's 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. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Crutches or a walker may be needed to help your child walk. They will help take weight off his injured pelvis while it heals.
  • Surgery may be needed for a pelvic avulsion fracture that is severe or does not heal with other treatments. Surgery helps return the bones to their normal position by putting them together with metal pins, screws, or plates.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

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

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

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

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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