What is snapping hip syndrome?

Snapping hip syndrome, sometimes called dancer’s hip, is a condition in which you hear a snapping sound or feel a snapping sensation in your hip when you walk, run, get up from a chair, or swing your leg around.

How common is snapping hip syndrome?

Most cases of snapping hip syndrome are benign and common to the general population. Snapping hip syndrome is thought to affect up to 5% of the population, with a higher prevalence in individuals between the ages of 15 and 40. It is thought to occur more frequently in females than men, with external snapping hip syndrome being the most common origin.

It be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of snapping hip syndrome?

For most people, the condition is little more than an annoyance and the only symptom is the snapping sound or sensation itself. But for dancers or athletes, snapping hip syndrome symptoms may also include pain and weakness that interfere with performance. In most cases, snapping is caused by the movement of a muscle or tendon over a bony structure in the hip.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes snapping hip syndrome?

Snapping hip is caused by the structure of the bone at the hips.

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.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for snapping hip syndrome?

There are many risk factors for snapping hip syndrome, such as:

  • Athletes, due to repeatedly forced movements
  • Ballet dancers
  • Gymnasts
  • Horse riders
  • Track and field athletes
  • Soccer players
  • Excessive weightlifting or running
  • Snapping hip is mostly seen in people of age group of 15 to 40 years

Diagnosis & Treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.


How is snapping hip syndrome diagnosed?

Your doctor will first check your physical condition and ask for your medical history. They will ask about your snapping hip, such as location of the snap, timing of the snap, age/duration of onset, pain and disability and impact on activities.

To diagnosis snapping hip syndrome a doctor must rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. These conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Hip arthritis, a degeneration of the hip joint that may cause pain and limit movement.
  • Meralgia paresthetica, a compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, causes pain and numbness on the thigh.
  • Tumors in the hip that may change the biomechanics of the hip.
  • Hip joint synovitis, or inflammation of the hip joint’s membrane lining, which causes swelling and symptoms that sometimes mimic those of snapping hip syndrome.

Imaging tests are used to check the condition of the joint include:

How is snapping hip syndrome treated?

As long as snapping hip does not give any pain, the condition does not require any treatment. A little bit of correction or modification in the hip joint movements during activities can improve your condition. However, if it hurts you must stop any action that tend to aggravate the pain.

For more severe pain or pain that does not improve with home treatment, see your doctor. Physical therapy with emphasis on stretching, strengthening, and alignment can often help. Sometimes, treatment with a corticosteroid injection to the area can relieve inflammation.

If you have severe snapping hip, or if it affect your activities greatly, your doctor may recommend an injection of a corticosteroid into the joint to reduce painful inflammation.

In the rare instances that snapping hip does not respond to conservative treatment, your doctor may recommend surgery. The type of surgery will depend on the cause of the snapping hip.

  • Hip arthroscopy. During hip arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your hip joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen, and your surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments.

Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, the surgeon can use very small incisions (cuts), rather than the larger incision needed for standard, open surgery.

Hip arthroscopy is most often used to remove or repair fragments of a torn labrum.

  • Open procedure. A traditional open surgical incision (several centimeters long) may be required to address the cause of the snapping hip. An open incision can help your surgeon to better see and gain access to the problem in the hip.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage snapping hip syndrome?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with snapping hip syndrome:

  • Reduce your activity levels and apply ice to the affected area.
  • Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to reduce discomfort.
  • Modify your sport or exercise activities to avoid repetitive movement of the hip. For example, reduce time spent on a bicycle, and swim using your arms only.
  • Applying ice.
  • Using over-the-counter pain relievers.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: April 23, 2017 | Last Modified: April 23, 2017

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