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Snapping Hips


Have you noticed your hip snap? Well, not exactly a snap as if to suggest a break, but more of an uncomfortable sensation that occurs with a snap noise. Or perhaps it occurs whilst doing sit-ups or getting up from a chair. If this is so, is there any pain associated with it?

In this article, I will answer some questions on snapping hips and explain how Perfect Balance can help as a team to get you snap free.

Snapping is known as a disorder whereby snapping, jumping out of place, or a catching sensation are noted in your hip region. This is normally caused by a tendon, which is a tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones to muscles and can catch on bony surfaces. This is what can cause that snap sound.

Types of snapping hip

The snapping hip can be explained in three parts:



Extra-articular means outside of the joint, therefore we have to assess the tissues outside of the hip joint. An area of concern with the extra-articular type of snapping hip comes from your buttock muscle (gluteus maximus) and also from the continuation of the tensor fasciae latae muscle or (tfl). This muscle continues down the outside of the thigh and attaches to your fibula head, which is the bone that protrudes below your knee joint on the outside of your leg.
Inter- articular means the inside, therefore, we are considering the iliopsoas tendon here, which is the muscle on the front of your thigh that you use when you bend your hips or go to sit down (hip flexor). This particular tendon attaches to a bony point called the lesser trochanter of your thigh bone, and as you bend your thigh/hip and straighten it, this tendon pings across this bony lump and causes that snap sound. This can be caused by a predominantly tight hip flexor compartment, but it can be helped, so do not worry. Sometimes, this type of snap can be heard during running, or even during abdominal exercises when bending the hips.
Intra-articular means inside the joint itself. This is quite rare but is often caused by a loose body (debris) inside the joint space. This can be noticed with certain hop motions, and can cause stiffness and will be associated with pain. Other symptoms may be joint locking due to this debris or the leg feeling a little weak at certain times. This could also cause some discomfort when getting up out of the chair.

So what do I do? Which type is my snapping hip?

Well, based on what we have discussed here so far, if none of these sounds like the type of snapping you have, we can still help you to assess your joints. We have many osteopaths, physiotherapists, and sports therapists who can help you with this, as well as tailor-made rehabilitation programmes for you to help to avoid injury from re-occurring. If it is something new, again, do not panic.

Based on your symptoms, if you do have the intra-articular type of snapping hip, the main method of diagnosis is an X-ray or an MRI scan. This will show if there is any debris inside a joint, or if there is any other joint pathology that may be present. If it is an intra-articular type, then the procedure may be an arthroscopy (examination of the interior of a joint) depending on the severity of the problem.

For more information about Snapping Hips

If you would like additional information about ankle exercises for this or to discuss how we may be able to help with your issues, please contact us using the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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