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Pelvic Fracture in Children

AMBULATORY CARE:

A pelvic fracture

is a break in a pelvic bone or hip joint.

Hip and Pelvis

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Pain, tenderness, bruising, or swelling in your child's pelvic bone area
  • Numbness or tingling in your child's groin or upper thighs
  • Discomfort or pain when your child sits, stands, walks, or has a bowel movement
  • Leg or thigh bone turns outward
  • Legs are not the same length

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

  • Your child suddenly feels lightheaded and short of breath.
  • Your child coughs up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child's leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your child's legs and feet turn blue or feel cold and numb.

Call your child's doctor or orthopedist if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child's pain is getting worse, even after he or she has taken pain medicine.
  • Your child's skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Treatment

will depend on the damage and the type of fracture your child has. Your child may need any of the following:

  • 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 healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Bed rest will help protect your child's pelvis while the fracture heals.
  • Apply ice on your child's pelvis 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 help your child walk. They will help take weight off his or her injured pelvis while it heals.
  • An external fixation device may be put on your child's hips to hold the broken bones together while they heal. Screws or a clamp are used to hold the device to your child's pelvic bones.
  • Surgery may be needed for a severe pelvic fracture. Pins, plates, and screws may be used to hold the bone together.

Activity:

  • Your child may need more rest than he or she realizes. Quiet play will keep your child safely busy so he or she does not become restless and risk getting hurt. Have your child read or draw quietly. Follow instructions for how much rest your child should get while he or she heals.
  • Ask your child's healthcare provider when your child can be physically active again. Together you can plan the best exercise program for your child. It is best to start slowly and do more as he or she gets stronger. Do not let your child play sports, such as football or soccer, while his or her fracture is still healing. His or her fractured pelvis may break again. Your child may also bleed or bruise easily.
  • Make sure your child uses his or her crutches or walker correctly. Remove loose rugs from the floor to prevent falls. It may be easier for your child to get out of a chair if he or she uses chairs with side arms and hard cushions. You may also want to have your child use a shower chair to prevent falls while he or she bathes.
    Fall Prevention for Children

Ice:

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.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist may teach your child exercises to strengthen his or her hip and legs after the pain is gone.

Follow up with your child's doctor or orthopedist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Learn more about Pelvic Fracture in Children (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.