A hip pointer is an injury where an athlete is hit on the iliac crest, which is the part of the pelvis that you can feel between your abdomen and thigh. It typically occurs in football, although it can occur in any contact and collision sport.

Signs and symptoms of a hip pointer

Typically the athlete will note that he or she was hit directly on the pelvis and that the injury was extremely painful. Examination of the area will usually reveal swelling and often a large amount of bruising. Here it will be very tender to palpation, and the patient may have limited range of motion of his hip and lower extremity due to the pain at the area of contact. X-rays are usually negative, but I often order x-rays to rule out more serious injuries, such as fractures.

Location of pain from a hip pointer

Treatment of a hip pointer

Treatment usually involves rest and avoiding sports until symptoms improve. Ice can be very helpful in decreasing the swelling and bruising. Once the pain has decreased somewhat, I encourage the patient to start exercises for range of motion of the hip and the rest of the lower extremity. As the athlete becomes more comfortable, activities such as jogging can begin. At that point, sport-specific exercises and return to play can be considered. It’s a very painful injury, but fortunately, there are usually no long-term consequences.

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