Pelvic injuries are quite rare in children, but when they happen, they can be very serious. These injuries are almost always severe, and often involve injuries to other organs inside the pelvis, such as blood vessels. Though pelvic injuries are typically due to high-energy trauma, such as from car accidents, they can also occur during other activities including sports.
The pelvis is made up of the sacrum and coccyx (tailbone) of the spine, along with the innominate bones (ilium, iscium, and pubis) that fuse together during puberty to provide protection for many of our organs, muscles and neurovascular structures. So, injury to the pelvic area can result in major damage to those other important structures.
Acute pelvic fractures and injuries
Pelvic ring fractures
The pelvic ring is extremely strong and protects the vital structures of the bowel, bladder, reproductive organs, urethra and major blood vessels. Therefore, if the ring is broken, there can be potentially life-threatening injuries to the organs and blood vessels.
Pelvic ring fractures in children are rare and result from high energy impacts, such as motor vehicle accidents or crush injuries (i.e. furniture falling directly on a young child), and take an extensive amount of force as the pelvic bones are strong and under layers of fat and muscle.
Luckily, most childhood pelvic ring injuries are not as severe as those seen in adults. They can often be treated by a period of immobilization, sometimes with a body cast (known as a spica cast).
Avulsion injuries are typically sports-related and happen when the muscle suddenly pulls on a portion of the pelvic bone during activities, like running and jumping.