What is Snapping Hip Syndrome and What to Do About It

What is snapping hip syndrome?

Snapping hip syndrome is a condition characterized by painful or pain free audible “clicking” that occurs within the hip joint during motion.

Don’t be alarmed by the term syndrome. The condition is more of a nuisance and is usually pain free. If there is pain with the clicking, I highly recommend you schedule a visit to your chiropractor to resolve the issue and to ensure that it is not a serious pathology causing the snapping hip.

There are three different types of snapping hip syndrome determined by the anatomical location of where the clicking or snapping is taking place:

  • External – caused by superficial muscles that are closer to the surface of the skin that snap over a bony prominence. A bony prominence is an elevated surface of bone that usually serves as an attachment site for a muscle. External causes include the gluteus maximus or tensor fascia lata/IT band snapping over the greater trochanter. Another cause can be the hamstrings snapping over the ischial tuberosity.
  • Internal – caused by the deep hip flexor called the psoas that snaps over the femoral head, lesser trochanter, or the iliopectineal eminence.
  • Intra-articular – caused by pathologies that occur within the joint itself rather than muscles outside of the joint. Some examples include, osteoarthritis of the hip, labrum tears, osteochondritis dissecans, and hip instability.1
Examples of external causes of snapping hip syndrome: gluteus maximus, tensor fascia lata, IT band, and hamstrings
Internal snapping hip syndrome caused by the psoas

Treatment of Snapping Hip Syndrome

Most cases of snapping hip syndrome are due to chronically short muscles that cause the audible click over the bony prominence. Simple stretching techniques and self myofascial release (foam rolling) can resolve or decrease the frequency of the audible clicking. I have attached short video examples below of stretches that target the muscles involved in snapping hip syndrome. Keep in mind that these stretches are only effective for the external and internal muscular causes of the condition.

External Snapping Hip Syndrome Stretches

Glute Stretch to prevent snapping over greater trochanter of the femur
TFL Stretch to prevent snapping over the greater trochanter of the femur
Hamstring stretch to prevent snapping over the ischial tuberosity

Internal Snapping Hip Syndrome Stretch

Hip flexor stretch to prevent snapping over the femoral head, lesser trochanter, or the iliopectineal eminence.

When to see a chiropractor for snapping hip syndrome

  • Failed attempts of correcting the snapping hip yourself
  • Unsure of which muscle is causing the snapping hip syndrome
  • Experiencing pain along with the snapping hip
  • Suspect more serious pathologies such as osteoarthritis of the hip, labrum tears, osteochondritis dissecans, and hip instability causing the snapping hip.

Rerferences

  1. Vizniak. Evidence Informed Orthopedic Conditions. Professional Health Systems Inc. 218-219. 2020

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Location 672 Leg in Boot Square, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4B3 E-mail drbrandonparnham@gmail.com Hours Monday: 6 AM - 8 PM | Tuesday: 6 AM - 12 PM | Wednesday: 6 AM - 10:30 AM | Thursday: 6 AM - 12 PM | Friday: 6 AM - 6 PM | Saturday: 6 AM - 3 PM | Sunday: Closed
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