The problem of popping and clicky hips has been bothering me for a while, and I eventually turned to Dr Google for some explanation on the possible causes and reasons behind the noisy hips. I click and pop all the time and in my case it is pain free, but in some people the popping sound comes with a various degree of pain.
It turns out that this phenomenon has a name and it’s called a Snapping Hip Syndrome or Dancer’s Hip. It normally occurs during particular movements causing hips to pop, click, or snap. The condition is usually harmless, but in some occasions can lead to joint damage and pain. (The links to the website that I have used for the research are listed below)
The two most common types of snapping hip are internal snapping hip and external snapping hip. These conditions are caused by tendons or muscles being pulled taut over bone and then releasing, creating a snapping sensation.
The most common place is on the outside of the hip where a band of connective tissue – the iliotibial band (IT Band) passes over part of the thigh bone that juts out and is called the greater trochanter. IT bands are often tight in athletes, such as runners and cyclists, due to repeated flexion and extension of the hip and knee. When you stand up straight, the band is behind the trochanter. When you bend your hip, however, the band moves over and in front of the trochanter. This may cause the snapping noise.
In addition to the outer hip, snapping can occur in the front or back of the hip (Internal Snapping Hip Syndrome), depending on which tendons are involved. A tight rectus femoris tendon, which runs from the front of the thigh to the pelvis, will cause the hip to snap in front; a tight hamstring tendon can cause snapping at the back.
The snapping also can be caused by cartilage damage in the hip joint (less common).
Snapping hip is not usually a serious problem. But although it is usually painless and harmless, the sensation can be annoying. In many people it’s more of a nuisance than anything. But when it comes to athletes and active people the condition can sometimes affect strength and performance. In some cases, snapping hip leads to bursitis, a painful swelling of the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the hip joint. The condition is also more likely to be painful when the snapping or popping sensation is caused by damaged cartilage in the hip joint.
In some cases people are predisposed to snapping hip syndrome. It can also be caused by a cartilage tear or loose bodies in the hip joint.
Treatment of the condition depends on its severity. If there is no pain, treatment may not be needed. Some of the treatment options include rest, ice, compression, medication, and physical therapy. If the condition is severe, surgery may be necessary to release the tendons causing the symptoms.
The stretch programme will depend on the type of the syndrome, but it’s recommended to stretch your IT band and the piriformis stretch can also be included into your stretch routine.
- CCC Osteopathy (2018) http://www.osteopathicmanualmedicine.com/2016/11/15/snapping-hip-syndrome-understand-in-order-to-correct/
- Veritashealth (2018) https://www.sports-health.com/sports-injuries/hip-injuries/3-types-snapping-hip-syndrome
- Titan Orthopedics (2018) https://titanorthopedics.com/hip-conditions/snapping-hip-syndrome/