Snapping Hip Syndrome Information: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Do you hear a popping sound or feel a popping sensation each time you perform physical activities that require leg movement? You may have what’s called snapping hip syndrome. Also sometimes referred to as dancer’s hip due to the fact that it is very common among dancers, the problem is usually no more than a mere annoyance rather than a debilitating issue — although that’s not unlikely to happen most especially in severe cases.

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Anything from walking, running to getting up from a chair may cause that popping sound or sensation to take place. Since it usually does not interfere with one’s life, a lot of people who have snapping hip syndrome do not seek the help of their doctors. However, it is an entirely different thing when it comes to people like dancers and athletes as it can get in the way of their professions or leisure pursuits, and sometimes even cause them a great deal of pain. It’s a good thing that there is treatment for snapping hip syndrome, primarily in the form of physical therapy.


Most of the time, the popping sound heard or popping sensation felt is brought about by the movement of a ligament or even muscle over a bony structure situated in the hip. The area in the hip where such takes place commonly is on the outside area where you can find the greater trochanter, a part of the thigh bone that sticks out. The popping is due to the movement of the so-called illiotibial band over the said part of the hip. There are times when it is caused by the movement of the gluteus maximum muscle, which is located at the back of the hip.

Sometimes the characteristic popping occurs on the front side of the hip, involving the movement of the hip flexor muscles over the front part of the hip bone. There are instances, too, when it occurs at the back, which is due to the rolling of one of the hamstring muscles over the hip bone’s bottom part.


The telltale sign of snapping hip syndrome is that popping sound or popping sensation each time the leg is moved in certain ways. It’s something that can be observed when you walk, run, get up from a chair or anything that requires you to swing your legs around, such as when dancing.

Just like what’s said earlier, a lot of people find snapping hip syndrome as an annoyance and not something that can have a tremendous impact on their lives. However, dancers and athletes may not agree to such. That’s because of the nature of their professions or leisure pursuits — snapping hip syndrome may keep them from performing optimally. It’s not unlikely for them to also experience weakness of the leg, or tightness or swelling in the affected area.

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Application of ice and the intake of OTC pain medications are the usual treatments for snapping hip syndrome. It will help a lot to reduce or modify physical activity while there is pain or swelling present.

Individuals with snapping hip syndrome can benefit tremendously from undergoing physical therapy. Such approach involves all sorts of stretching exercises, depending on which structure in the hip is affected. There are also some activities during physical therapy that can help in strengthening and properly aligning the affected area.

In rare instance, surgery may be warranted. This is especially true if snapping hip syndrome is brought about by a tear in a ligament or cartilage, or when there’s a loose bit of it. There are times, too, when the problem is caused by a tiny fragment of loose bone which can be removed via surgery.


To keep snapping hip syndrome from striking, it’s very important for the individual to perform warm up exercises such as stretches, in particular the kinds that a physical therapy provides. The intensity of the physical activity should also be increased gradually to prevent unnecessary strain on the ligaments, cartilages and muscles in the hip.

Putting on the right kind of shoes for the activity or those that fit the wearer very well — which provides utmost support —can also help in preventing snapping hip syndrome.

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