Snapping Hip Syndrome

     A very common question you will hear asked by students in a dance class is, “Is it bad for my hip to pop every time I kick to the side.” Teachers always say, “If the popping doesn’t hurt, then you’ll be fine.”, but I have always wondered the cause of this loud noise. 

     It turns out that this popping noise is called Snapping Hip Syndrome. This snapping noise or sensation is caused by a tendon or ligament rolling over a bone. Although the popping is usually painless and harmless, it could eventually turn into bursitis, a painful swelling of the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the hip joint. The ball and socket joint of the hip bone fits into the cup shaped socket inn the pelvis (acetabulum), which is surrounded by strong fibrocartilage for support. Layers of ligaments and tendons surround the hip, connecting the muscles to the bones. Bursea, fluid filled sacs, are located around the bone to provide smooth movement. Any alteration, or tightness to a ligament, tendon, or muscle, will cause them to not correctly slide past the bone.

     The most common place for the snapping hip to occur is on the outside of the hip, when the illoitibial band passes over the thigh bone. When the hip is straight, the band is in front of the bone, but when the hip is bent, it has to move behind the bone. A dancers illoitibial band is usually tighter than the average person’s, so the smooth moving of the band of the bone becomes harder. 

     If a person has snapping hip syndrome, it is recommends to reduce the activity level and modify the sport. If pain persists, getting a doctor examination may be wise. From there they will examine you case and usually send you to physical therapy, where they will show you stretches for the illoitibial band and the piriformiis. Loosening these muscles should reduce the pain. If one’s body is not responding to the physical therapy, a doctor may recommend looking into having surgery. Although not many have surgery due to this syndrome, it sometimes is the only way for the injury to heal.


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