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Snapping Hip

Snapping Hip: Symptoms, Treatment, & Recovery

Snapping hip is a condition characterized by an audible snapping or clicking noise that originates from the hip area during movement. Another name for this condition is Coxa Saltans. While snapping hip syndrome may not always cause pain, it may interfere with mobility and limit a person’s ability to perform certain movements. Additionally, snapping hip may in time lead to a more serious condition called hip bursitis.

What Causes Snapping Hip?

Generally, snapping hip syndrome is caused by the strong band of thigh tissue snapping over the greater trochanter of your femur bone. In other cases, your tendon may snap over part of your pelvis bone, though this is less common.

Snapping hip can also develop in young people as they grow, usually during growth spurts. This is the result of bone growing faster than tendons or muscles.

Snapping Hip Risk Factors

Activities with frequent walking or bending may eventually lead to snapping hip. If you participate in sports such as dance, aerobics, running, soccer, or football, or you continuously use the same muscles over and over, you may develop snapping hip. 

Symptoms of Snapping Hip

Symptoms of snapping hip include:

  • An audible snap while moving the legs or hips
  • Hip tightness
  • Weakness of the leg
  • A swollen hip
  • Pain in the hip area
  • Difficulty moving the hip
  • Trouble standing from a seated position

How is Snapping Hip Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of snapping hip begins with a physical examination, including medical history and details about your injury. Imaging tests such as X-rays may also be performed to help rule out more serious issues.

Treatment for Snapping Hip

Usually, medical management of snapping hip syndrome is very conservative. This includes resting the area, lessened activity, anti-inflammatory medications or injections, and finally, physical therapy

In cases where snapping hip impedes the day-to-day life of an individual and does not get better with rest or physical therapy, surgical intervention may be possible. This is especially true if the condition seems to continue to decline. Because surgery for snapping hip is non-invasive (arthroscopic surgery) this may be the best option for a patient in the long run. Surgery can help prevent more serious and painful conditions such as hip bursitis. 

Snapping Hip Recovery Time

While many patients will recover with rest, physical therapy, and the passage of time, there are still some that require arthroscopic surgery as a treatment for snapping hip syndrome. Overall, healing can occur in between 2-6 weeks. For athletes, return to play can occur as soon as one is able to perform usual, sport-related activities without pain.

Because arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive, requiring only the smallest of incisions, recovery time is greatly reduced, though highly dependent on each patient and the exact surgical strategy.

How Can I Prevent Snapping Hip?

It may not always be possible to avoid developing snapping hip syndrome, but here are at least 3 recommended ways to avoid injury to the hip area and prevent common problems, such as snapping hip:

  • Stretches and warm-ups before sports
  • Exercises to help strengthen core muscles
  • Schedule an exam early for hip pain that doesn’t go away

Expert Hip Care at Raleigh Orthopaedic

There is no reason to live with pain or difficulty in your daily life from hip pain. At Raleigh Orthopaedic, we have six convenient locations across Wake County, NC, with specialists that can help diagnose and treat your hip-related condition. Call or book an appointment with us today to step into a pain-free life with help from our team of caring professionals.

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