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Effective Treatment for Snapping Hip Syndrome: Strategies for Relief and Recovery

June 26, 2023

Snapping hip syndrome, also called a dancer's hip, is a condition in which you hear or feel a snapping sound or feeling in your hip when you walk, run, get up from a chair, or move your leg around. Most people don't think of it as anything more than an annoyance; the only sign is the sound or feeling of popping. But people with snapping hip syndrome may also feel discomfort and fatigue that affects their ability to do their job.

Coxa Saltans or Snapping Hip Snapping Hip Syndrome also referred to as dancer hip. Trochanter major, Tensor fasciae latae and Liotibial band

This article will cover effective treatment for snapping hip syndrome to help ease the affected persons.

Causes of Snapping Hip Syndrome

Most of the time, snapping is caused when a muscle or tendon moves over a bone in the hip. Less often, a snapping sound is caused by a tear in the cartilage, pieces of broken cartilage or bone in the joint space, or a free piece of cartilage. This can hurt and make it hard to do things.

External Snapping Hip Syndrome

External snapping hip syndrome happens when the iliotibial band slips along the outside over the top of the femur, called the greater trochanter. This is what most SHS look like.

People with this type of SHS may snap when they run or go up or down stairs. They may also feel pain and soreness on the outside of the hip. Sleeping on this hip often hurts, and the pain may get worse over time.

Internal Snapping Hip Syndrome

This type of snapping hip syndrome happens when a muscle or tendon in the hip slides over the front of the hip joint. It's usually caused by your iliopsoas tendon moving over your pelvic bone. This tendon connects your inner hip muscles to your thigh bone. This disease can also happen when your quadriceps muscle glides over the ball of the ball-and-socket joint in your hip.

The second most typical manifestation of this illness is internal SHS. Internal snapping hip patients frequently suffer a slow onset of indications that get worse with time. They can feel pain close to their groin when they run and hear popping.

Intra-articular Snapping Hip Syndrome

Intra-articular SHS differs from internal and external SHS in that it is not caused by a muscle or tendon. Instead, this disease can be caused by an injury or problem with the hip joint.

Some of the most common reasons for intra-articular snapping hip syndrome are:

  • articular cartilage injury, or damage to the cartilage that lines the ball or socket of the hip joint
  • acetabular labral tear, or damage to the cartilage that rings your hip socket
  • broken bone pieces or loose tissue that gets stuck between your hip's ball and socket joint

Intra-articular SHS can happen quickly because of an injury or stress.

Recommended Snapping Hip Syndrome Treatment

At first, your doctor may suggest that you rest and change how you do things. Then, they may suggest more safe treatments. There are many ways to treat snapping hip, such as:

Rest

People with snapping hip syndrome should try to avoid doing things that make their hips feel like they are snapping, popping, or clicking. Resting stops joint pain and lets the hurt tendon, muscle, or bursa heal. If walking causes the hip to snap inward, the individual may be told to walk with the leg that snaps out a bit. Taking a rest may make the hip snap less often.

Physical Therapy

A licensed physical therapist may be able to loosen up tight muscles and tendons that cause the hip to snap outward or inward and help them heal. A physical trainer could use the following:

Massage: A deep tissue massage or trigger point massage can help relieve muscle tension and the symptoms of a snapping hip, much as stretching can help loosen up tendons and muscles.

Stretching: The IT band can be stretched to help people who experience external hip cracking. Hip flexor stretches may be helpful for people who experience inner hip snapping.

Retraining: Changing an athlete's form, changing their posture, and raising their level of physical sensitivity can all have an effect on the hip's biomechanics and lead to a decrease in their symptoms.

Ultrasound: The use of ultrasound, which employs high-frequency sound waves to stimulate soft tissues under the skin, may speed up the healing process for tendons and muscles.

Iontophoresis: This treatment involves the use of a low-voltage electrical current to deliver an anti-inflammatory medication, such as dexamethasone, to the affected region by way of the surrounding healthy skin. Patients who cannot take injections or who wish to avoid injections may be given the recommendation to undergo iontophoresis by their treating physician or physical therapist.

The following are some popular exercises that you can use to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your surrounding area, which will, in turn, alleviate some of the symptoms of snapping hip syndrome:

Perform Hamstring Stretch while Lying Down

1. Lie down on your back on the floor.

2. Raise the leg that is hurt up in the air to be perpendicular to your torso.

3. Bring your leg closer to your body while maintaining a gentle pull until you feel a tiny strain in the back of your thigh.

4. Maintain this position for the next minute.

5. Perform this step a total of two to three times.

Hip Flexor Stretch

1. Kneel on the leg that is not injured, with the unaffected leg in front of you.

2. Maintaining an upright posture, thrust your hips forward while keeping your back straight.

3. Hold this stretch until you feel a tiny strain in the upper thigh of the leg that is affected and in your hip.

4. Maintain this position for fifteen to thirty seconds.

5. Perform this step a total of two to three times.

Bridges

1. Place yourself on your back and bend both knees to a right angle (90 degrees).

2. Raise your hips from the floor and maintain this position until your shoulders, hips, and knees are aligned in a straight line.

3. Maintain this position for approximately six seconds.

4. Bring your hips back down to the floor as slowly as you can.

5. Repeat this step eight to ten times.

Iliotibial Band Stretch

1. Position yourself so that you are leaning laterally against a wall and standing on the leg that has the injured hip. 

2. Place this leg in the position where it is closest to the wall.

3. Bring the leg that is not affected around and cross it in front of the one that is.

4. Lean back from the wall and comfortably stretch your hip.

5. Maintain this position for fifteen to thirty seconds.

6. Perform this step a total of two to three times.

Clam Shell

1. Lean on your side with the leg that is afflicted elevated above the other leg.

2. Ensure that your legs are close together and that your knees are bent.

3. Bring your upper knee up to your chest while maintaining a close-footed stance. When your legs are opened, they should look like the shell of a clam.

4. Maintain this position for approximately six seconds.

5. Lower your knee to the ground in a controlled manner.

6. Perform this step eight to ten times.

A doctor may recommend surgery as a treatment for snapping hip syndrome symptoms in specific circumstances. The underlying reason for the hip snapping will determine the kind of surgery that is advised.

Arthroscopic Hip Debridement

In order to remove debris during this surgery, your doctor will create a tiny cut at the hip joint cavity. Those who have intra-articular SHS are the most suited for this surgery.

Iliopsoas Tendon Release

People who have inner hip snapping syndrome, which is a painful condition that keeps coming back, are sometimes told to do this procedure. During surgery, the doctor makes cuts in the iliopsoas tendon in specific places to lengthen it. This treatment reduces strain and the chance of the hip snapping.

Iliotibial Band Release

In this process, your iliotibial band is stretched out to reduce strain and hip snapping. People with pain from external snapping hip syndrome are advised to take this treatment.

Acetabular Labrum Repair

If x-rays and an MRI showed that the ring of cartilage surrounding the hip socket, or acetabulum, is torn, this treatment might be proposed for snapping hip syndrome. Most of the time, this surgery is done arthroscopically, which means that only small cuts are needed.

Conclusion

When a tendon or muscle slides over the hip bone, it can cause snapping hip syndrome. It can also be caused by an accident or shock. This disease usually doesn't hurt, but it can get worse over time and start to hurt.

If your hip is snapping or popping, hurting, and making it hard for you to move around, seeking medical advice is highly recommended. You can treat this at home, but if it worsens, you may need physical treatment or even surgery if necessary.

© 2024, John Hibbitts, M.D. All Rights Reserved.