Snapping Hip Syndrome

Snapping hip syndrome or dancer’s hip, is a condition in which you can hear a snapping sound or a snapping sensation in your hip when you do some of your daily activities such as walking, running, getting up from a chair, or while swinging your leg around. These symptoms are mostly found in dancers or athletes. The symptoms may include severe pain and weakness that could interfere with performance.


  • Snapping could be caused by the movement of a muscle or tendon over a bony structure in the hip.
  • The most common region is the outside of the hip where the iliotibial band, a band of connective tissue, passes over the greater trochanter, part of the thigh bone that juts out. When a person stands up straight, the band is behind the trochanter whereas when he bends his hip, the band moves over and in front of the trochanter. This could cause the snapping noise. The iliopsoas tendon, which is attached to the inner part of the upper thigh, can also snap because of hip movement.
  • Another region usually prone to snapping is the hip joint, where the ball at the top of the thigh bone connects into the socket in the pelvis. The snapping happens when the rectus femoris tendon moves back and forth across the ball when the hip is bent and straightened.
  • A cartilage tear or bits of broken cartilage could also cause snapping. Even a loose piece of cartilage can cause the hip to lock up, resulting in pain and disability.

Treatment options

Non-surgical treatment

Initial treatment generally involves a period of rest and activity modification. The doctor may also recommend various conservative treatment options including physical therapy with emphasis on stretching, strengthening, and alignment. Sometimes, a corticosteroid injection would be given to the area to relieve pain and inflammation.

For minor snapping syndrome pain, you can try some of the home treatments such as:

  • Reducing or modifying activity
  • Applying ice over the affected region
  • Using over-the-counter pain relievers

Surgical Treatment

In certain cases, the doctor may even recommend surgery. The type of surgery; either Hip anthroscopy or Open procedure, depends on the causes associated with the snapping hip.

  • Hip arthroscopy is performed in order to remove or repair fragments of a torn labrum.
  • Open procedure: A traditional open surgical procedure may be performed to address the cause of the snapping hip. It gives the surgeon a better understanding of the problems in the hip.