Snapping hip occurs when muscles and tendons in the hip are unusually tight. This prevents the tendons from gliding smoothly across the joint when moving the leg. Snapping hip is more prevalent in people who participate in sports, dance, or work in jobs that require repetitive bending of the hip.
The most common symptoms of snapping hip are a snapping sensation and popping sound when moving the leg. Although the snapping and popping is an annoyance, it is not usually painful or dangerous. In cases that are more advanced, bursitis of the hip can occur.
Physicians will assess symptoms and medical history to properly diagnose snapping hip. Patients may be asked to walk and move the hip in a number of positions to demonstrate the snapping. Although x-rays will not indicate snapping hip, they may be recommended to rule out other conditions.
Snapping hip is usually treated with rest and avoiding activities that lead to snapping or popping. Physical therapy may be recommended to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the hip. In cases where bursitis has developed, corticosteroid injections can be used to reduce inflammation. Surgery is rarely necessary, but may be recommended if conservative treatment options are not effective.