Hip Pointer

Hip pointer

A hip pointer occurs following an impact to the iliac crest at the front/top of your hip bone. It is common in contact sports such as American Football and Rugby.


Hip pointer symptoms

Symptoms of a hip pointer include:

  • Pain and tenderness when pressing in over the bony part at the front of your hip.
  • You will usually have some bruising or swelling.
  • Your range of movement in the joint will be reduced and you may also have weakness in muscles around the hip.
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What is a hip pointer?

A hip pointer injury occurs following an impact to the iliac crest (hip bone) or greater trochanter (bony protrusion at the top of the femur). It is common in contact sports such as American football.

The trauma causes a contusion (bruise) of the iliac crest. Sometimes an avulsion fracture occurs. This is where a small part of the bone is pulled away by the attached muscle.

The area over the front of the hip is particularly at risk if it receives a direct blow. This is because there is limited padding and protection. Bleeding usually occurs around the front and side of the hip, into the abdominals and hip abductor muscles (gluteus medius and minimus).

Following this type of injury, a full assessment should be undertaken to rule out damage to any intra-abdominal organs.

Treatment for a hip pointer

What can the athlete do?

  • Begin treatment by resting, applying ice and compression to the injury.
  • Ice or cold therapy can be applied for 10 minutes every hour initially reducing the frequency as required.
  • This will help to reduce or limit any pain, inflammation, and swelling.
  • Visit a sports injury professional who can fully assess the injury to rule out any complications as stated above.
  • They can also advise on a full rehabilitation program with hip stretching and mobility exercises followed by hip strengthening exercises.

What can a sports injury professional do?

  • Assess the injury for severity and complications.
  • A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.
  • Once pain is decreasing, range of motion exercises can begin.
  • Sports massage may be used after the acute stage to help reduce swelling, loosen the muscle fibres and prevent the build-up of scar tissue.
  • If there is a large bleed or hematoma, aspiration may be done which involves draining the fluid off with a needle.
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