Snapping Hip Syndrome

Those with snapping hip syndrome feel a snapping or popping sensation in the front, side, or back of the hip area when a muscle, tendon, or ligament moves over the bony prominence of the hip. This condition may present with or without pain. When pain does occur, it typically subsides when the movement causing the snapping is stopped. Some people affected by snapping hip syndrome experience weakness in the hip, especially when they try to move the leg forward or sideways. Symptoms also commonly occur when rising from a seated position or rotating the body or leg. When the snapping is felt in the front of the hip, it often is the result of the hip flexor muscle moving across the hip, or the hip ligaments moving over the thigh bone or hip joint tissues. When the snapping occurs on the side of the hip, it may be the result of the iliotibial (IT) band rolling over the outer thigh bone or the muscle on the back of the hip moving across the outer thigh bone. When the snapping is present in the back region of the hip, it typically indicates that a hamstring muscle is rolling over the bottom of the hip bone. This condition usually occurs as a result of overuse of the hip muscles, which makes them tight, fatigued, weak, and swollen. Athletes—particularly those involved in activities like track and field, soccer, equestrian sports, cycling, gymnastics, and dance—are especially prone to snapping hip syndrome. Treatment includes rest, icing, and physical therapy. Surgery is rarely necessary.