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Hip Pointers

Definition | Causes | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention

Definition

A hip pointer is a bruise to the upper part of your hip. This part of the hip bone is called the iliac crest. Many muscles, including abdominal muscles, attach at this site. A pointer can involve injury to bone and soft tissue.

Hip Bone and Local Musculature

Abdominal muscle and pelvis

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The injury can be very painful. Contact your doctor if you think you may have this injury.

Causes

Hip pointers are caused by a direct blow to the boney part of the pelvis. This commonly occurs in football or hockey when another player's helmet hits the pelvis. It can also occur by taking a hard fall onto the hip in any sport.

Risk Factors

Participating in contact sports increases your chance of developing a hip pointer. Football players and hockey players are especially at risk. Hip pointers are also more common while playing basketball and soccer.

Symptoms

If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to a hip pointer. These may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:

  • Severe pain
  • Tenderness
  • Pain with activity
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Soreness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Decreased range of motion

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to specialist. An orthopedist focuses on bones and joints. A sports medicine physician focuses on sport-related injuries.

  • You may have an x-ray to rule out fractures. An x-ray is a test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures in your body.

Treatment

Hip pointers are treated with:

  • Rest
  • Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Ice
  • For severe pain, your doctor may inject a steroid directly into your hip
  • A physical therapist may be recommended to help you regain mobility and build muscle strength

Hip pointers may take several weeks to heal and for the pain to go away and for normal movement to return. Check with your doctor about a timeline to return to normal activities. You may be able to return to activity as soon as you feel you are able.

Prevention

Hip pointers occur through direct blows to the affected area. This is often accidental. As a result, not all hip pointers can be prevented. However, make sure to wear proper sports equipment and padding to decrease your chance of any injury.