What Is a Hip Pointer?

A hip pointer is pain and/or bruising over the top or front of the hip bone. Most hip pointers are caused by a direct blow to the soft tissue and bone in the hip area.

    What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Hip Pointer?

    A hip pointer causes pain and tenderness over the front and top of the hip bone. The area also might look bruised. Some people have pain when moving the hip, which can range from mild to severe.

    What Causes a Hip Pointer?

    Hip pointers are caused by a hard hit to hip area, usually during an athletic activity. This can happen:

    How Is a Hip Pointer Diagnosed?

    To diagnose a hip pointer, health care providers:

    • ask about physical activities and if there were any recent accidents
    • do an exam, paying special attention to the hip

    Sometimes doctors order an X-ray or MRI to check for a broken bone or other injury.

    How Is a Hip Pointer Treated?

    Teens with a hip pointer need to rest the area. They should avoid any activities that make the pain worse or could cause another hit to the area. This may mean taking a break from sports.

    Your health care provider also may recommend that you:

    • Use crutches to take weight off the hip.
    • Put ice or a cold pack on the hip every 1–2 hours for 15 minutes at a time. (Put a thin towel over the skin to protect it from the cold.)
    • Wrap an elastic bandage around the waist/hip area for support and comfort.
    • Raise the hips on a pillow when lying down to help with pain and swelling.
    • Go for physical therapy or do a home exercise program to help with stretching and strengthening of the area.
    • Take medicine for pain such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or store brand) or acetaminophen (Tylenol or store brand). Follow the directions that come with the medicine on how much to take and how often.

    When Can Someone With a Hip Pointer Go Back to Sports?

    Teens who get a hip pointer can return to sports when:

    • they have full range of motion in the hip
    • they're no longer limping
    • they're back to their full strength
    • the pain is improved

    Going back to sports too soon puts someone with a hip pointer at risk for another injury that could possibly be more serious. Your health care provider will let you know when it's safe for you to go back to sports.

    What Else Should I Know?

    If things don't improve, see your doctor, as it may be a sign that you have a different or more serious condition.

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    Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.