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Snapping Hip – What is it?

Snapping Hip – What is it?
Snapping hip is a condition where a snapping sensation is felt when the hip joint is in action when you are walking and running. This sensation may be have an associated popping noise and may also be accompanied by pain (this is not always the case).

There are two types of this problem:
On the outside of the hip. Its caused by fibres of two of the muscles that operate the hip sliding over the hip bone and producing a snapping noise. This normal action becomes a condition as the tendons thicken and so are more likely to catch against the bone. This type is usually painless, but the noise can cause some concern.
The second type is caused by a tendon of one of the muscles (iliopsoas) passing over the front of the hip joint. In this case the overuse can lead to the type of irritation that is more likely to cause pain. The pain is due to inflammation of the muscle tissue and/or the associated bursa (fluid sacs that are present around every joint).

snapping hip

Signs and Symptoms of ‘snapping’ hip
Common and frequent ‘Snapping’ or ‘Clicking’ sound when walking or running.
Pain at the front of the hip (typically after periods of exercise) thought to be caused by irritation of a fluid sac (bursa) in-between the tendons of the hip. The pain often decreases with rest and lower activity levels.
Assessment Information
If there is an audible popping sound on walking, the condition is suspected.
Clinical questioning can help to highlight the onset and history of the condition, along with common signs and symptoms.
Clinical assessment aimed at muscle lengths, and strength will highlight any muscle imbalances that may be causing the problem (very common).Also feeling how the hip joint moves (amount and quality) and comparing right to left may provide more information regarding the type of condition present.
Palpation (feeling) the hip during walking, the clinician may be able to feel the tendons catching. Bio mechanics analysis (during walking and running) may show technique issues that can be driving the problem.
General Treatment
Treatment will aim to correct any biomechanical abnormalities found. A comprehensive stretching programme is usually needed to address any muscle tightening, and a strength programme to help restore and muscular imbalances. Manual therapy will to help correct and muscle shortening or local pain.

Exercises to develop pelvic and core stability when walking and running, along with more biomechanical (looking at joint alignment and movement) treatments will help.
In more rare cases, injection therapy can be used to stop any inflammation of the bursae, but unless the above rehabilitation is adhered to, the problem may just keep coming back. In very rare cases, surgery may be considered as a last resort treatment.
For more information on how to identify and treat a snapping hip contact Putney Physio

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