Snapping Hip Syndrome

Snapping hip syndrome also referred to as dancer’s hip is a condition that causes a snapping sound in your hip joint while walking, getting up from a chair or while swinging the leg around. The syndrome most often occurs among dancers and young athletes.


Most people do not experience any symptom other than the snapping sound or sensation when walking or extending the leg. However, for dancers and athletes, snapping hip syndrome usually causes pain and weakness that may interfere with their performance.


The snapping sensation is usually caused from the movement of a muscle or tendon over a bony structure in the hip.

The least common cause of snapping hip syndrome involves a tear in the cartilage or bone debris within the hip joint. This cause of snapping hip syndrome typically causes pain and disability. Any loosepiece of cartilage in a hip joint can causea feeling of the joint lockingorcatching.


If you have snapping hip, you should be evaluated by your doctor. First, your doctor will find out the exact cause of your symptoms. Your doctor may ask several questions during their medical evaluation such as the location of pain, the activities that exacerbate the pain or information about previous hip-related injuries. Your doctor may ask you to demonstrate the snapping. Your physician may also ask you to move your hip in various ways to recreate a snapping sound. During the physical examination, your physician may feel the tendon movement when bending or extending your hip.

An X-ray is usually taken to rule out any problems with the bones or joint, but X-rays are usually normal with snapping hip syndrome.


Snapping hip syndrome that is painless does not require any treatment. Treatment is required if it becomes painful or interferes with your sports or activities. For minor cases, conservative home treatment options such as reducing or modifying your physical activities, application of ice and taking over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve the symptoms. If the pain is severe and do not respond to conservative home treatment options you may need to go to the doctor to have immediate treatment. Physical therapy prescribed by your doctor can be helpful to relieve the discomfort. In case of hip bursitis your doctor may recommend an injection of a corticosteroid to help control the inflammation.

Surgery is rarely needed when the snapping hip syndrome do not respond to conservative treatment options.

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