Hip Avulsion Fractures

Written by: Amber Sauder

Hip pain that occurs with sports injuries can typically fall into the categories of sprains and strains. These types of injuries can resolve with rest and conservative treatment. Unfortunately, some injuries that cause hip pain are more serious and require advanced care from an orthopedic provider.

Our bones connect to other bones and muscles via ligaments and tendons respectively. A hip avulsion fracture occurs when a small piece of bone is pulled off the main bone by the tendon or ligament it is attached to.

These fractures of the pelvis occur in adolescent children or athletes who participate in high-impact activities and affect the joints such as the hip, elbow, or ankle.

If you have had a recent injury in your hip and would like an accurate diagnosis, contact us today at OrthoNeuro. Our expert physicians can provide diagnoses and specialized treatment plans.

What Are the Causes of Hip Avulsion Fractures?

Specifically, hip avulsion fractures are when the muscle contracts forcefully and pulls a piece of bone off the pelvis. Common sites on the pelvis include the anterior superior iliac spine, anterior inferior iliac spine, and the ischial tuberosity. Motions that involve sudden, powerful contractions of our hip flexor muscles (our quads), such as kicking, can result in avulsion fractures.

Avulsion fractures can also occur when the muscles in the back of the thigh (hamstrings) contract when our hip is flexed and the knee is extended, such as in a sprinting motion. Hip avulsion fractures can also result from any trauma that places sudden stress on the hip, like being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Pelvis Avulsion Fractures?

People with hip avulsion fractures may report hearing a pop or snap at the time of injury. They typically present with sudden pain over the injury site, swelling, and weakness when trying to move the hip (pelvis impaired mobility). This may result in walking with a limp. These injuries can be mistaken for a muscle strain.

How Is a Hip Avulsion Fracture Typically Diagnosed?

In addition to evaluating your medical history and a physical exam, a physician will likely order an x-ray or bone scan to visualize the bone better. A CT or MRI can also be used to confirm a diagnosis.

How Is a Hip Avulsion Fracture Treated?

Rest: Most avulsion fractures typically need 4-6 weeks of rest and refraining from activity. Patients will also require crutches or a walker to help with walking.

Pain medication: Your physician may provide prescription pain relief medication or instructions for the use of over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).

Cold therapy: Applying ice can help with reducing swelling
Surgical treatment: If the fracture fails to heal or the bone piece was pulled too far away, surgical intervention may be required to position the bone in an acceptable location. A surgeon may use pins, screws, or plates to help hold the bone in place as it heals.
Physical therapy: Once the fracture is healed, or once you have recovered from surgery, your doctor will start you on a physical therapy program to help you regain strength and improve your range of motion.

How Can I Prevent a Hip Avulsion Fracture?

Ensuring a proper warm-up before exercise can help with preventing hip avulsion fractures. Performing exercises that strengthen the pelvic muscles can also aid in prevention.


If you have experienced a recent injury to your hip and would like to consult with a knowledgeable doctor about courses of treatment, schedule an appointment to speak to an avulsion fracture specialist at OrthoNeruo. We are here to help! Call us today to schedule an appointment!

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