Snapping hip is a condition in which you feel a snapping sensation or hear a popping sound in your hip when you walk, get up from a chair, or swing your leg around.
Snapping hip is most often the result of tightness in the muscles and tendons surrounding the hip. People who are involved in sports and activities that require repeated bending at the hip are more likely to experience snapping hip. Dancers are especially vulnerable.
Young athletes are also more likely to have snapping hip. This is because tightness in the muscle structures of the hip is common during adolescent growth spurts.
Medical History and Physical Examination
Your doctor will first determine the exact cause of the snapping by discussing you medical history and symptoms, and conducting a physical examination. He or she may ask you where it hurts, what kinds of activities bring on the snapping, whether you can demonstrate the snapping, or whether you have experienced any injury to the hip area.
You may also be asked to stand and move your hip in various directions to reproduce the snapping. Your doctor may even be able to feel the tendon moving as you bend or extend your hip.
X-rays create clear pictures of dense structures, like bone. Although x-rays of people with snapping hip do not typically show anything abnormal, Dr. Backe may order x-rays along with other tests to rule out any problems with the bones or joint.
Initial treatment typically involves a period of rest and modification of activities. Depending upon the cause of your snapping hip, Dr. Backe may also recommend other conservative treatment options.
Your doctor may prescribe exercises to stretch and strengthen the musculature surrounding the hip. Guidance from a physical therapist may also be recommended.
If you have hip bursitis, Dr. Backe may recommend an injection of a corticosteroid into the bursa to reduce painful inflammation.
In the rare instances that snapping hip does not respond to conservative treatment, Dr. Backe may recommend surgery. The type of surgery will depend on the cause of the snapping hip.