What is “Snapping Hip Syndrome?”
By Sean Dorman, PT, DPT
Have you ever been running and heard snapping in your hip every time you try to cut or take a stride? While it may be a pain free snapping sensation, it is an annoyance that needs to be addressed so it does not interfere with your function and take you off the road! There are various causes for this condition, which should be evaluated and treated by your Physical Therapist who are specialists in determining movement impairments. Snapping hip syndrome can be categorized into two main groups:
1-External snapping: primarily caused by the subluxation (or abnormal movement) of the iliotibial band over the side aspect of your hip.
2-Internal snapping: may be caused by the iliopsoas tendon, which is located in the front of your hip, abnormally sliding over internal structures of your hip.
The people who are at risk often include athletes with repetitive rotation and cutting movements, weight lifters, and runners usually between ages of 15-40 years old. Physical findings usually include hip weakness, mechanical and musculature imbalances, and overtraining. Conservative management with physical therapy of exercise, stretching, and hands on therapy resolves most cases.
When conservative care isn’t effective in those rare cases, lengthening of the tendon can be performed arthroscopically. That’s why listening to your body’s first symptoms is so important (and often very difficult for avid runners and athletes), however it is critical to reduce further risk of injury and avoid surgery.
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