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Treating Hip Pointers in Football Players

With the kick-off of the NFL season, North America’s favorite sport once again takes the centerstage in the hearts and minds of countless sports enthusiasts across the country. Many will undoubtedly be inspired to emulate the amazing physical feats displayed on the sporting arena. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a more serious athlete, sporting injuries are something you need to be prepared for. Let’s look at an injury commonly seen in contact sports like football – the hip pointer.

A hip pointer may be caused by blunt force trauma to the side of the hip, for example when a helmet accidently strikes the bony prominence of the pelvis during a tackle or due to falling to the ground sideways on your hip.

The injury is characterized by a painful localized swelling and bruising with possible internal bleeding into the hip abductor muscles. Very quickly there will be rapid decline in hip strength and mobility. The pain may be worsened with walking, coughing, laughing, or Treating Hip Pointers in Football Players_Dr Domb- AHI_YPO Content_V1 breathing deeply. The diagnosis is generally self-apparent, but occasionally an x-ray may be ordered to rule out a fracture and a CT scan may be performed in case of persistent, severe hip pain.

Most hip pointers will heal with conservative therapy alone. This involves resting for a few days, indirect application of ice for 15-20 minutes 3-4 times a day to reduce swelling and inflammation during the first 24-48 hours after the injury, use of crutches to avoid weightbearing on the injured hip, and keeping the hip elevated above the level of the heart to promote blood flow while lying down. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories may also be used as recommended by your doctor.

Once you’re on the mend, ensure your hip is protected with well-fitting hip pads that cover the crest of your hip bone as you gradually ease into your activities. Remember to take it slow and let the level of soreness or pain be your guide as to how far to push yourself during your workouts. Masking your pain with medications can result in a re-injury of the hip, so pain medications should be kept to the absolute minimum or avoided altogether if possible.

If your hip pain continues beyond a few days, consult the hip specialists at the American Hip Institute for cutting-edge minimally invasive treatment to get you back into the game as soon as possible.


Dr. Benjamin Domb is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine and Hip Arthroscopy. He is the Founder and Medical Director at American Hip Institute, is rated amongst the Top Doctors in the USA by the NY Times, US News & World Report, and Castle Connelly. The doctors at the American Hip Institute® have been global leaders in Hip Arthroscopy and Robotic Surgery for over a decade. While some would call this excellence, we simply call it the American Hip Institute standard.

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