The Easiest Way to Treat a Hip Pointer Injury

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closeup of the legs and hips of a football player in uniform
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A hip pointer injury is an extremely painful, acute injury to the iliac crest of the pelvis. The injury causes bleeding into the abdominal muscles, which attach to the iliac crest. The bone and overlying muscle are often bruised, and the pain can be intense. Pain may be felt when walking, laughing, coughing, or even breathing deeply.


Hip pointers are the result of a direct blow to the iliac crest, whether from a direct hit from a helmet, shoulder, or a hard fall on the ground. Hip pointers are common in contact sports such as football and soccer, but also occur in hockey, skiing, rugby, cycling, lacrosse, volleyball, and even basketball.


Most hip pointers will heal with conservative treatment. If you suspect a serious injury, you should see a physician to have a full physical exam. While uncommon, a severe blow to the hip may result in a bone fracture.

Like a variety of acute soft tissue injuries, the immediate treatment recommendation for dealing with a hip pointer injury is to follow the R.I.C.E. treatment plan. First, stop the activity, get off the field, and get first aid assistance. Apply ice and compression, and have it checked by medical staff. Most hip pointers will heal in time, but it's important to make sure you don't have a more serious injury. To allow the injury to heal properly, avoid any aggravating activities for the first one to two weeks from the incident. Ice and anti-inflammatory medication can be helpful to reduce pain and inflammation for the first seven to 10 days after the injury, and moderate activity such as walking and range of motion exercise may help return joint mobility.

Sometimes a doctor will treat a hip pointer by injecting a local anesthetic to reduce the pain and increase the function. If a hip pointer doesn't begin healing with the standard conservative treatment, your physician may refer you to physical therapy for additional treatments and rehab exercises.

It's important that the injured athlete not return too quickly to intense activity or sports with a high risk of another blow to the hip. Athletes who play sports or start exercising with continued pain and tenderness often compensate by altering their gait and technique. The result may be another injury to a different body part. As with any injury, try to avoid returning too quickly to sports or an acute injury can easily turn into a chronic injury that is much harder to recover from.


Wearing properly fitted protective equipment, including hip pads, is the best protection from a hip pointer injury. Additionally, developing appropriate skills and techniques and following the rules of the game can reduce an athlete's risk of a fall or collision, which may help avoid a hip pointer injury. It's often impossible to predict and avoid an impact, so being well-protected is the best way to avoid a serious injury.

To get the best protection from your protective gear, make sure they fit correctly. Athletes who wear hip pads need to make sure the pads are large enough to come up over the crest of the hip bone (the iliac crest). Football hip pads are most common and can be used by athletes for other sports as well. Hockey hip protection is another popular choice for preventing hip pointers.

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Article Sources
  • Hip Pointer. TeensHealth from the Nemours Foundation.