Snapping hip syndrome is a condition characterized by a snapping sensation, or an audible snap or click in the hip when it moves through certain motions. The snap can be felt along the front or side of the hip, or deep within the hip joint. The snap is usually felt with repetitive bending and extending of the hip joint – for example with running, core exercises (i.e. leg raises), high kicks in dance etc.
There are three different types of snapping hip syndrome – diagnosed based off of where the “snap” is occurring. The first occurs when the Iliotibial band (IT band) snaps over the greater trochanter (a bony protuberance) on the outside of the hip. The second is when the Iliopsoas (a hip flexor) tendon snaps over a protuberance in the front of the pelvis. Lastly, and least commonly, the snap can be intra-articular (inside the joint). This could be caused by a tear of the cartilage in the hip joint, or a loose body – a small piece of cartilage that can float around in the hip joint.
What Causes Snapping Hip Syndrome?
In general, snapping hip syndrome is caused by a tightening of the muscles around the hip joint. There is a greater occurrence of this condition in activities that cause repetitive flexion and extension of the hip, such as dance, soccer, gymnastics and running. Shortening of these muscles can also be caused by postural dysfunctions, for example – people who sit at a desk for the majority of the day where the hip flexors are in a shortened position. Many people also have a number of muscle imbalances around their hips that may pre-dispose this problem – for example weak glute and core muscles that lead to an over activation of the hip flexors with sport and activity.
How can Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and/or Massage Therapy Treatment Help with Snapping Hip Syndrome?
A physiotherapy or chiropractic assessment will determine the location and underlying cause of the “snap”. This assessment will also rule out other, more problematic injuries involving the hip – for example a labral tear in the hip. Treatment of this condition may involve stretching of the anterior structures of the hip, manual therapy and massage of the surrounding muscles and joints to normalize their position and function. A comprehensive strengthening program will also help to identify and treat muscle weaknesses and improve proper muscle activation and control around the hip and pelvis.
The knowledgeable staff at Rebalance Toronto can help to relieve that annoying snapping, and prevent it from developing into something potentially more problematic – such as a tendinopathy, bursitis or irritation of the surrounding nerves.
What are Some Safe Home Exercises for Snapping Hip Syndrome?
For most people snapping hip syndrome is not painful, but more of an annoying sound with certain activities; however, there are some things you can start to do to relieve that sensation. Start by avoiding core exercises that involve repetitive leg raises. To learn more appropriate core-progressions a physiotherapist or chiropractor at Rebalance can help! Contact us today.
Some safe stretches to start now would be:
Start in a half kneeling position. Tuck your pelvis under and engage your core. Keep this tuck position and your body upright and start to lunge forward. Stop as soon as you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat x2/day.
Tensor Fascia Latae stretch
Start in standing and cross your affected leg behind your other leg. Push you affected hip out to the side and use the arm on the same side to reach over head. Continue reaching until you feel a gentle stretch in the side of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat x2/day.