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Lenox Mount Sinai NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital weill Cornell
Snapping Hip Syndrome

Do you hear a strange snapping sound when you walk or stand? How about a snapping sensation in your hip when you move or kick? Many people experience the symptoms of what could potentially be snapping hip syndrome. The best way to narrow down the cause of these unsettling experiences is to see a hip and groin specialist for assessment before running the risk of permanent joint damage.

Do you have questions about snapping hip syndrome? Get some answers here:

What Is Snapping Hip Syndrome?

Snapping hip syndrome is the term for the condition in which you feel or hear a snapping when you move, walk, run or go about daily activities. It is usually more of an annoyance than a problem, although many afflicted report discomfort and weakness that can disrupt daily life. Snapping hip syndrome is often called “dancer’s hip” and is diagnosed by your medical provider.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Generally, your provider will want to rule out some other common causes of a snapping during movement of the hip, so a medical assessment is always advised. Some other conditions that could mimic the symptoms of snapping hip syndrome include arthritis, nerve compression (meralgia paresthetica), tumors and inflammation of the hip joint, called synovitis. Once your doctor has eliminated these possible diagnoses, they may determine that you have one of three different types of Snapping hip syndrome.

What Kind Do You Have?

There are basically three types of snapping hip syndrome: internal, external and intra-articular. Internal and external snapping hip syndrome is caused by muscles, tendons, and ligaments being stretched taut over bone, creating the snapping sound when released. Intra-articular snapping hip syndrome is usually caused by trauma or when there is a mechanical dysfunction in the hip joint itself. In these instances, symptoms may manifest quite suddenly, often following a fall or other type of accidental injury.

What Causes Snapping Hip Syndrome?

As mentioned, the cause of your snapping hip syndrome depends on the type that you are diagnosed with. Sometimes, cartilage in the hip can tear, which creates bits of debris or bone to occupy the joint space. In addition to the tell-tale snapping sound, individuals will likely experience some degree of pain and, in some cases, physical impairment or disability.

How Is It Treated?

Many patients may not seek medical attention for their snapping hip syndrome unless pain is a symptom. Some individuals may experience challenges in physical activities or mobility, which drives them to seek treatment. If you experience symptoms of this condition, consult with your doctor to rule out other conditions and to determine if you have debilitating intra-articular snapping hip syndrome. You can also relieve symptoms by decreasing physical activity, applying ice and taking a pain reliever. When this doesn’t help symptoms subside, physical therapy is a prudent option. If symptoms do not alleviate, see your doctor about steroidal injections for more long-lasting relief. In rare and extreme cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. Addressing your snapping hip syndrome now can prevent permanent hip and joint damage later.

See your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of snapping hip syndrome, including the unmistakable sound, sensation or potential paint associated with this condition. Ask your provider to refer you to a bone and groin specialist to rule out other potential diagnoses and to begin treatment for fast relief.

  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • International Society for Hip Arthroscopy
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Ambra Health
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