Hip Pointers

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What Is a Hip Pointer?

A hip pointer injury is a bruise, or contusion, to the ridge of bone on the upper outside of the hip — called the iliac crest.

A direct blow to the hip or a collision with a surface — such as the ground — are the most common causes of hip pointers.

Hip pointer causes and risk factors

Hip injuries most often occur during contact sports, like football or hockey.

However, hip injuries can occur during noncontact sports — such as volleyball — when an athlete falls onto his or her hip or side.

The resulting hip pain and tenderness from a hip pointer often limit an athlete's participation in sports.

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Hip Pointer Symptoms and Diagnosis

The severity of a hip pointer can range from minor to major.

Hip pointer symptoms

Minor hip injuries may cause some pain and tenderness in the iliac crest (the upper outside region of the hip).

Major hip pointers may cause other symptoms, including:

  • Bruising and/or swelling
  • Hematoma
  • Severe pain or tenderness when pressing on the affected area
  • Limited range of motion and/or weakness in your hip or leg

Hip pointer diagnosis

Many times, doctors can clinically diagnose a hip pointer just by learning how the injury happened.

To rule out a hip fracture or determine the extent of the hematoma present, your doctor may order tests such as:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs
  • Ultrasounds

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Hip Pointer Relief and Treatment

Most hip pointers will heal with conservation treatment:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression

For more severe hip injuries, you may need crutches.

Protecting and preventing hip pointer injuries

Although athletes can't predict when a direct blow may occur, they can wear a protective hip pad or other protective equipment according to the manufacturer's recommendations. This may help protect a current hip pointer injury or prevent future injury.

Rehabilitation for hip pointers

If needed, rehabilitation for a hip pointer consists of strengthening the associated muscles around the injured area.

Athletes with severe hip pointers that require extended use of crutches may also need gait training.

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Learn more about hip pointer treatments

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