When Your Hip Snaps: Understanding Snapping Hip Syndrome And How It's Treated

Health & Medical Blog

Snapping hip syndrome often begins with the feeling of a snapping or popping sensation in your hip. The sensation is typically felt when you get up from a sitting position or when you are walking. It can also be noticeable when you swing your legs in a certain direction.

More annoying than painful for most sufferers, snapping hip syndrome can still interfere with your daily activities, especially if you are an active individual. In some cases it may require surgical intervention.

What causes snapping hip syndrome?

When the muscles and tendons surrounding the hip become abnormally tight, it results in a popping sensation. Snapping hip syndrome usually occurs on the outside of the hip where the iliotibial band crosses over the greater trochanter. Snapping in the front of the hip is caused by the rectus femoris tendon moving across the head of the thigh bone. In the back of the hip, it is caused by the hamstring tendon moving across the ischial tuberosity.

Cartilage tears can also cause a popping sensation in the hips. This is typically the result of a tear in the labrum.

Who is at risk for developing snapping hip syndrome?

Anyone can develop snapping hip syndrome, but it is more common in those involved in work or recreational activities that require frequent bending at the hips or repetitive motion of the hips.

Repetitive motions in dancing make dancers more susceptible to the condition. It is also more common in young people who are undergoing adolescent growth spurts, as tight muscle structures are common during growth periods in youth.

What are the risks of snapping hip syndrome?

Snapping hip syndrome can eventually lead to the development of bursitis. This develops when the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the hip sockets became inflamed and irritated. Bursitis can be extremely painful and interfere with daily activities.

What is the treatment for snapping hip syndrome?

Your orthopedic physician will typically ask you to reduce your activities and rest to see if relief can be obtained. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help stretch and strengthen the musculature. If bursitis develops, corticosteroid injections may be administered to relieve the pain.

If conservative measures are not working, an orthopedic surgeon may need to be consulted. Depending on the location and cause of the snapping hip syndrome, the surgeon may perform either an open procedure or an arthroscopic procedure to treat the cause of the syndrome. Surgery is more common when tears of the labrum are causing the snapping hip syndrome.

Fortunately, for most people snapping hip syndrome is more annoying than painful. However, being evaluated by an orthopedic physician, such as at Surgery Center of Kenai, is the first step to getting a proper diagnosis and learning about the best treatment options for your condition.


22 February 2016

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