Hip Pointer

A hip pointer occurs when the pelvis region (the iliac crest, surrounding soft tissue, or greater trochanter of the femur) gets bruised—often as a result of a direct blow or fall. Hip pointers are common in contact sports such as football but also can occur in sports like volleyball where an athlete is likely to fall and land directly on the side of the hip. Symptoms include tenderness, pain, swelling, weakness, and limited range of motion. The pain can be severe and may worsen when walking, laughing, or coughing. Typically, treatment for a hip pointer is conservative and requires only rest, ice, compression, and elevation—and some anti-inflammatory medication. However, if symptoms don’t abate, physical therapy may be necessary to reduce pain and inflammation and prepare an athlete for a safe return to his or her sport. In rare cases, a hip pointer can cause a hematoma or fracture as well as damage internal organs. Even so, surgery to address a hip pointer is very rare. Hip pointers can often be prevented by wearing proper protective equipment such as hip pads, following the rules of the game, and knowing when to take a break to recuperate—exhaustion may increase the chances of making a mistake or taking a tumble.