What is a Snapping Hip Syndrome?

A snapping hip syndrome (also known as the dancer’s hip) is a condition in which one hears a snapping sound or feels a snapping sensation in the hip when one walks, runs, or moves the legs around.

About 5 percent of the population has this condition. Although it can affect anyone, the snapping hip syndrome is seen to be more common in people between the ages 15 and 40.

The snapping hip syndrome usually occurs as a result of tightness in the muscles and tendons that surround the hip. People who are into sports and other activities that require frequent bending at the hip are more likely to develop this condition.

Symptoms of a Snapping Hip Syndrome

Symptomatic people (those who have the symptoms) may experience pain or weakness during the hip flexion and extension. These symptoms usually limit these people’s ability to participate in certain activities.

Those who have external snapping hip syndrome may have a gradual onset of snapping or pain felt on the greater trochanter area. Patients usually experience a sensation that their hip is dislocating.

Those with the interior snapping hip syndrome experience the painful sensation within the anterior groin. This is felt when they move their leg from flexion to extension or external rotation.

Diagnosing a Snapping Hip Syndrome

To diagnose the snapping hip syndrome, the doctor has to review the patient’s medical history, conduct a thorough physical exam, and in some cases, recommend some imaging tests.

The patient’s medical history is reviewed in order to determine the cause of the condition. If it is brought about by an injury, the doctor may ask the patient when and how it happened.

During the physical exam, the doctor will ask the patient to point out the site that hurts the most. He/she may also ask the patient to stand and move the hips in different directions. The doctor may feel the tendon while the patient is doing this.

Additional tests such as x-rays may be required to rule out other conditions of the bones or joints.

How It Is Treated

Nonsurgical Treatment

Initially, the condition is managed through conservative methods such as rest and activity modification. Depending on the cause and severity of the symptoms, the doctor may recommend additional treatment such as physical therapy and corticosteroid injections.

Surgical Treatment

Although it rarely happens, those who do not respond well to conservative treatment methods are recommended for surgery.

The type of surgery will depend on the cause of the snapping hip. The procedure can be an arthroscopic or open surgery.