Snapping hip is a condition that affects the hip, it creates a sensation of a snapping noise when walking, swinging the leg or getting up from a seated position. The noise of snapping occurs when a muscle or tendon moves over a bony prominence around the hip. Typically snapping hip syndrome is harmless and most of the time, painless. Although snapping hip is harmless on most occasions it can lead to other injuries of the hip. On some occasions snapping hip can lead to bursitis, a condition that is caused by friction and inflammation of the fluid filled sac.
Symptoms of snapping hip depend on which structures are in question, in most cases symptoms may include:
- Tightness in the hip usually in the front/back
- Swelling around the hip
- Weakness in the same side leg
- Snapping in front/back or side of the leg when moving the hip
- Difficulty moving the hip through the full range of motion (sit to stand)
There are three main areas where this condition can arise:
Outside of the hip
- A thick fibrous band of tissue that runs along the outside of the upper thigh known as the IT band passes over the trochanter of the femur (bony prominence), the IT band passes over this creating the snapping sensation.
Front of the hip
- The rectus femoris tendon can move across the head of the femur creating a similar sensation.
Back of the hip
- In some cases the condition can be in the back of the thigh causing a snapping of the hamstring tendon at the ischial tuberosity (sit bone)
- The socket of the hip can also cause a snapping sensation although symptoms would involve locking at the hip and increased levels of pain. It may feel deep within the hip as opposed to superficial.
Those who suffer from snapping hip do not normally need treatment because the condition does not cause pain just an unusual feeling. If you feel you may have snapping hip you should try the following conservative home remedies.
- Reduce your activity level and apply ice to the area
( help prevent swelling and aid healing)
- Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce discomfort and prevent the onset or bursitis.
- Modify your activity to protect your hip. For example, less biking and more swimming.
If you are still not having a reduction in symptoms with conservative management you should seek advice from a physiotherapist.