What Is a Hip Pointer Injury?

June 30, 2024
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If you are an athlete, it should be easy for you to explain, “What is a hip pointer?” However, for a person with no knowledge of sports, this term can be new. Hip injuries are common in many sports and often result from overuse.

Contact sports carry an even higher risk of hip injuries. One of the most frequent impact injuries is a hip pointer. This injury can cause pain and prevent you from participating in your sport.

What Does a Hip Pointer Feel Like?

A hip pointer injury causes intense pain at the top of the pelvis or between the pelvis and the bony part of the outer hip. Moving and walking can be very painful, and even everyday activities like laughing, coughing, or deep breathing may hurt.

The pain is focused on the iliac crest area of the hip. If there is a significant blood collection (hematoma), the pain can be severe as it presses on nerves. In teenagers, an avulsion fracture, where the bone pulls away, can sometimes feel like a hip pointer.

What Is a Hip Pointer Without Impact?

A hip pointer injury needs a direct hit to the hip area. It doesn’t happen without some kind of external force or collision causing bruising and pain. If there’s no impact or trauma, the symptoms of a hip pointer likely wouldn’t appear.

What Causes a Hip Pointer?

Hip pointers happen from a hard hit to the hip area, often during sports. This can occur:

  • During contact sports like football, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and hockey.
  • In non-contact sports, it is from hitting equipment, like a pole in pole vaulting or a ball in soccer.
  • From landing on a hard surface in volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, figure skating, dance, or skateboarding.
  • Due to crashes while skiing, snowboarding, cycling, or inline skating.

Hip Pointer Symptoms

A hip pointer is easily recognized by pain at the top of your hip. Some common symptoms help doctors diagnose it:

Hip Pain:

  • You will feel pain, sensitivity, and tenderness around the hip bone, like a bruise.
  • The pain can worsen when you move your hip.
  • Severe cases can cause pain during daily activities such as walking, running, laughing, coughing, or deep breathing.
  • If the pain lasts more than two weeks or doesn’t improve with treatment, it could be a more serious injury, like a broken bone.

Visible Bruise:

  • A hip pointer is essentially a bruise.
  • This bruise can be visible on the skin around the hip or hidden beneath the skin.
  • If the bruise is not visible, other diagnostic methods might be needed.
  • A visible bruise changes the color of the skin, which can turn:
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Yellow
  • Brown

Hip Pointer Treatment

Most hip pointers can be treated at home with the following steps:

  • Rest:

Stop your sport or training routine. Rest for a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity.

  • Ice:

Apply an ice pack to your hip for 15 minutes every one to two hours.

  • Compression:

Wrap a stretchy bandage around your hips for support. Be careful not to wrap it too tightly if your bruise is severe.

  • Anti-inflammatory Pain Medicine:

Take ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) to reduce inflammation. If your hip pointer is severe and you have trouble walking, you might need crutches.

  • Physical Therapy:

Stretching and strengthening the muscles around the injury helps, especially when the hip is weak. A hip pointer rarely needs more treatment unless there is another injury, such as a fracture. In such cases, an orthopedic surgeon might recommend further treatment.

Ending Note

Hip injuries like hip pointer during sports are common. Understanding “What is a hip pointer” helps you treat it better. Contact an orthopedic doctor immediately if you fail to notice any improvement within 36 hours.

Visit Dr. Gombera at Mufaddal M. Gombera, MD. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializes in sports medicine. Call us at (713) 794-3457 to book an appointment.

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Dr. Gombera

Dr. Gombera, earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Michigan. Expanding his expertise, he undertook a sports medicine and arthroscopy fellowship at Northwestern University in Chicago. Recognized as a Super Doctors Rising Star and honored for patient care excellence at the University of Michigan, he holds multiple certifications and licenses, solidifying his dedication to delivering exceptional medical services.

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