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Hip Pointers

Definition

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

Hip Bone and Local Musculature

Abdominal muscle and pelvis
The iliac crest is the top curve of the pelvis toward the front of the body.
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Causes    TOP

Hip pointers are caused by a direct blow to the bony part of the pelvis. This commonly occurs in when the pelvis comes into contact with a hard object, like a helmet. It can also occur by taking a hard fall onto the hip.

Risk Factors    TOP

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    TOP

Symptoms of a hip pointer include:

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

Diagnosis    TOP

You will be asked 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.

Images may need to be taken of structures inside your body. This can be done with x-ray.

Treatment    TOP

Hip pointers are treated with:

  • Restricting activities to allow the area to heal; this may involve using crutches to keep weight off the hip
  • Ice therapy to help relieve swelling
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain
  • Injection of a numbing medication and/or steroid directly into the hip to relieve severe pain
  • Physical therapy to help you regain mobility and build muscle strength

Prevention    TOP

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.

RESOURCES:

American Physical Therapists Association
http://www.apta.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org

References:

Adkins S, Figler R. Hip pain in athletes. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Apr 1;61(7):2109-2118. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed March 10, 2015.
Hall M. Anderson J. Hip pointers. Clin Sports Med. 2013 Apr;32(2):325-330.
Waite B, Krabak BJ. Examination and Treatment of Pediatric Injuries of the Hip and Pelvis. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2008;19(2).
Last reviewed March 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 3/18/2013