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Snapping Hip Syndrome Physiotherapy
Snapping hip syndrome refers to a snapping or popping sensation that
occurs in the
- front/groin region
- or back of the hip (ie, the “sit
when you forcefully lift, lower, or swing your leg
makes it more difficult to perform activities such as
- twisting your leg
- getting up from a chair
Although the condition most often affects dancers and athletes,
a snapping hip can occur in anyone performing forceful leg movements, and is most commonly seen in people 15 to 40 years of age.
Although snapping hip
syndrome is estimated to occur in 5% to 10% of the population, the
incidence may be higher in
- and athletes such as soccer players,
weight lifters, and runners
What is Snapping Hip Syndrome?
Snapping hip syndrome happens when a muscle, tendon, or ligament rolls
over a bony prominence in the hip, with or without causing pain.
occur in different areas of the hip, including:
- Front. Snapping at the front of the hip can involve
the hip flexor muscle rolling over the front of the hip bone, or the
hip ligaments rolling over the thigh bone or tissues of the hip joint.
- Side. This condition involves the iliotibial band
(ITB) rolling over the outer thigh bone, or the big muscle on the back
of the hip (gluteus maximus) sliding over the outer thigh bone.
- Back. This condition involves 1 of the hamstring muscles rolling over the bottom of the hip bone.
Snapping hip syndrome can happen when the hip muscles are excessively
and over-used and become
- and/or swollen
like track and field, soccer, weight lifting, horseback riding, cycling,
gymnastics, and dance can also cause, aggravate or trigger the condition.
In fact...it also can occur
during everyday activities that require repeated lifting or rotating of
the leg outward.
How Does snapping hip Feel like?
Snapping hip syndrome causes a snapping sensation and sound that can
be felt in the front, the side, or the back of the hip. Often, the
snapping can be without pain.
If your snapping hip causes you to experience pain, the pain usually ceases
when the leg movement causing the snapping is stopped.
The sensation is
often experienced when an individual is required to use their hip to
change positions. In athletes and dancers, the snapping can be
accompanied by weakness and will affect and diminish performance.
The snapping is most commonly felt when
- kicking the leg forward or to
- when bringing the leg behind the body
- when rising from a
- or when rotating the body or the leg
Often, walking and running in a straight line are snap free and pain
free, although in some people, these activities are limited by the pain
of the structure that is snapping.
Signs and Symptoms
With snapping hip syndrome, you may experience:
- Snapping or popping in the front, side, or back of the hip when lifting, lowering, rotating, or swinging the leg
- Weakness in the leg when trying to lift it forward or sideways
- Tightness in the front, back, or side of the hip
- Swelling in the front, back, or side of the hip
- Difficulty performing daily activities, such as rising from a chair and walking
How Is It Diagnosed?
If you see our senior physiotherapists first, we will conduct a
thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history.
We may ask you:
- How you injured your hip and if you heard a pop when you suffered the injury
- If you feel snapping, popping, or pain
- Where you feel the snapping, popping, or pain
- If you experienced a direct hit to the leg
- If you saw swelling in the first 2 to 3 hours following an injury
- If you experience pain when lifting your leg forward or backward,
walking, changing directions while walking or running, or when lifting
- If you participate in any repetitive, forceful, or plyometric (quick explosive jumping) sport activities
- If this is this a preexisting sensation that is now becoming painful
We also will perform special tests to help determine whether you have a snapping hip, such as:
- Asking you to lift your leg quickly or rotate your hip outward
- Asking you to push against the physical therapist’s hand when the
therapist tries to push your leg outward, backward, and forward (muscle
- Gently feeling the muscle to determine the specific location of the injury (palpation)
- Assessing your muscle flexibility
We may use additional tests to assess possible
damage to other parts of your body, such as your hip joint or lower
To provide a definitive diagnosis, we may
collaborate with an orthopedic doctor or other health care provider. The
physician may order further tests—such as an X-ray or magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI)—to confirm the diagnosis and also to rule out other
That being said, these tests are not commonly needed to
diagnose snapping hip syndrome.
how our senior physiotherapists can help you
We will design an individualized treatment
program based on your specific condition, health history, and goals, to
help you recover from snapping hip syndrome in the safest way possible.
Hip physiotherapy also may include exercises you can perform at home. The program will also
focus on reconditioning and prevention of future injury.
The First 24-48 Hours
We may advise you to:
- Rest the injured hip by avoiding walking or any activity that causes
pain. In rare cases, crutches may be recommended to reduce further
strain on the muscles when walking.
- Apply cold therapy to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 hours to reduce swelling.
- Consult with another health care provider for further services, such as medication or diagnostic tests.
We will design your treatment program to ensure
your safe recovery. It may include treatments and exercises to:
We can use
different types of treatments to control and reduce your pain including
for your muscles and joints. We will determine the best treatments for your specific
We will choose
specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in
the leg and hip. These might start with movements of the leg and hip
joint that we will gently perform for you, and progress
to active exercises and stretches you perform yourself.
Physiotherapy treatment for
snapping hip syndrome often involves manual therapy techniques called trigger point release and soft tissue mobilization, as well as specific stretches for muscles that might be abnormally tight, and to correct any muscle imbalances.
Certain exercises will benefit you
at each stage of recovery.
We will choose and
teach you the appropriate exercises that will restore your strength,
power, and agility. These may be performed using
- free weights
- resistance bands
- weight-lifting equipment
- and cardio-exercise
machines, such as treadmills and stationary bicycles
Muscles of the hip
and core may be targeted.
Speed recovery time
trained and experienced in choosing the treatments and exercises to help
you heal, get back to your normal life, and reach your goals faster
than you could on your own.
Return to activities
collaborate with you to decide on your recovery goals, including return
to work and sport, and design your plan of care to help you reach those
goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible.
We may use hands-on therapy and teach you exercises and
work-retraining activities. Athletes may be taught sport-specific
techniques and drills to help them return to their particular sports.
Prevent future re-injury
We can recommend a home-exercise program to strengthen and stretch the
muscles around your hip, upper leg, and core (abdomen) to help prevent
future injury. These may include strength and flexibility exercises for
the hip, thigh, and core muscles.
If Surgery Is Necessary
Surgery is rarely necessary in the case of snapping hip syndrome.
However, if hip correction surgery is required, we will help you with post-surgery physiotherapy to
- minimize pain
- restore motion
- restore strength
- and return to normal activities in the
speediest and safest manner possible after surgery
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At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
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Follow up sessions are inline to provide
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