What Causes Snapping Hip Sounds?

Your hips are an essential joint in your body that take a lot of stress and pressure, supporting your weight as you move. There are several injuries that can cause your hips to have issues. Snapping hip syndrome is a significant condition, but there are many treatment options available.

Joshua D. Harris, MD, is a very highly skilled orthopedist with an extensive history of research and accomplishments in his field. At his medical practice in Houston, Texas, Dr. Harris provides his patients with orthopedic treatments that get them moving again without pain. He is experienced in diagnosing and treating snapping hip syndrome.

What is snapping hip syndrome?

Your hip is a very complex ball and socket joint where your thigh bone (femur) meets your pelvis. This joint takes a lot of pressure and stress, especially when you are walking, running, or jumping. 

The hip joint is held together by tendons that connect the muscles to the bones and ligaments that connect the bones. The bones are cushioned by strong cartilage called the labrum that prevents them from rubbing against each other.

Snapping hip syndrome is named for the sound you might hear coming from your hip while you are walking, running, or standing up. It is caused by muscles or tendons that are moving over a bony part of your hip. It is most likely to occur in people who participate in activities that involve a lot of bending. 

Snapping hip syndrome is primarily caused by your hip muscles and tendons being tight, but can also be caused by damage to the cartilage in your hip. Most people do not experience any discomfort from this condition, but if untreated, it can lead to pain, weakness, and dysfunction.

The hip flexor tendon, also known as the “psoas” or “iliopsoas” is the most common cause of audible hip snapping - the snapping hip you can hear. It is due to the tendon snapping over the hip joint or the front of the pelvis bone.

The IT band, also known as the iliotibial band, is the most common cause of visible hip snapping - the snapping hip you can see. It is typically visible over the side of the hip as a snapping move with rotating the pelvis as you stand. It is frequently misinterpreted as the hip dislocating. It is commonly associated with hip bursitis, gluteal tendonitis, and gluteal tendinopathy. 

Other less common causes of snapping hip include labral tears, cartilage tears, ischiofemoral impingement, and hip loose bodies.

Treatments for snapping hip syndrome

To determine the exact cause of your snapping hip syndrome, Dr. Harris completes a full physical exam and may order diagnostic tests if needed. Sometimes rest and modification of your activities allow the condition to improve, and further treatments include:

Typically the less invasive treatment methods are tried first before considering an invasive treatment such as surgery.  Dr. Harris determines the course of treatment that he thinks will be most effective for you. 

Snapping hip syndrome is a common condition in people who participate in activities that involve a lot of repetitive bending movements. It is usually caused by tendons or muscles moving over a bony protrusion in your hip. There are several effective treatment options for snapping hip syndrome.

To set up an appointment, call our office or use our convenient online booking system to find a date and time that work for you.

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