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Snapping Hip Syndrome Physiotherapy



Snapping hip syndrome refers to a snapping or popping sensation that occurs in the

  • side
  • front/groin region
  • or back of the hip (ie, the “sit bone”)

when you forcefully lift, lower, or swing your leg

Snapping hip makes it more difficult to perform activities such as

  • lifting
  • kicking
  • twisting your leg
  • getting up from a chair
  • walking
  • running
  • or cycling

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

  • dancers
  • 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.

It can 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

  • fatigued
  • tight
  • and/or swollen

Athletic activities 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 the side
  • when bringing the leg behind the body
  • when rising from a chair
  • 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 the leg
  • 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 strength test)
  • 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 back.

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 potential damage.

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:

Reduce pain

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 condition.

Improve motion

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.

Improve strength

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

We is 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

We will 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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book your physio appointment or enquire now

Enquire and email your preferred physiotherapy appointment slot to louise@phoenixrehabgroup.com or

WhatsApp / SMS your name, preferred date, time and enquiries to +6588001830

Clinic Locations: See how to get to us here

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Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.



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DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY

Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and shorten downtime. It also prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle performance.

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ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

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book your physio appointment or enquire now

Enquire and email your preferred physiotherapy appointment slot to louise@phoenixrehabgroup.com or

WhatsApp / SMS your name, preferred date, time and enquiries to +6588001830

Clinic Locations: See how to get to us here