Hip Strain/Hip Pointer


A hip pointer is a bruise or contusion on the pelvis. It is caused by a direct blow to the iliac crest during contact sports. Usually, the bruise causes bleeding into the hip abductor muscles, which move the legs sideways, away from the midline of the body. This bleeding can create swelling and make it painful to move the legs.


Causes of Hip Strain/Hip Pointers

A direct blow to the side of the hip and pelvis causes a hip pointer. Most often, this is a football injury that occurs when the hip/pelvis is speared with a helmet during a tackle.


Symptoms of Hip Strain/Hip Pointers

The following symptoms usually indicate the presence of a hip pointer:

  • Pain over the injured muscle is the most common symptom.
  • Use of the muscle aggravates the pain.
  • Swelling may also be present, depending on the severity of the injury.
  • There may be a loss of muscle strength.



Treatment and rehabilitation are centered on relieving pain, restoring range of motion and restoring strength.
The R.I.C.E. method is usually recommended by doctors at the FHCH Sports Medicine Program:

  • Rest. Take a break from the activity that caused the injury. Your doctor may recommend that you use crutches to avoid putting weight on your hip.
  • Ice. Use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
  • Compression. To prevent additional swelling and blood loss, wear an elastic compression bandage.
  • Elevation. To reduce swelling, recline when you rest, and put your leg up higher than your heart.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine like aspirin and ibuprofen reduce swelling and pain.

After a couple of days, your doctor may recommend heat therapy, including hot soaks, heat lamps or heating pads. You should avoid any activity that causes strain for 10 to 14 days. You can use that time to rebuild your muscle strength and endurance by doing stretching and strengthening exercises. If the pain returns, you want to stop and go back to a less strenuous level of activity. Severe muscle strains may require a longer rehabilitation time.

No surgical options are required for hip strain/hip pointers.

If you have questions about a hip strain or hip pointers or want to make an appointment with us, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators and they'll be happy to help you.