• Hip Pointers


    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
    The iliac crest is the top curve of the pelvis toward the front of the body.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    The injury can be very painful. Contact your doctor if you think you may have this injury.


    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.


    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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.aafp.org

    American Physical Therapists Association http://www.apta.org


    Canadian Medical Association http://www.cma.ca/

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

    Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org/


    Hip pain in athletes. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000401/2109.html . Accessed October 30, 2008.

    Hip Pointer. University Michigan Health System website. Available at: http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/sma/sma%5Fhippoint%5Fsma.htm . Accessed October 27, 2008.

    Taking care of your hip; a Physical Therapy perspective. American Physical Therapists Association website. http://www.apta.org/AM/Images/APTAIMAGES/ContentImages/ptandbody/Hip/Hip.pdf . Accessed October 27, 2008.

    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).

    Revision Information

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