Finding Relief For Snapping Hip Syndrome

Finding Relief For Snapping Hip Syndrome

Do you experience a snapping sensation in your hip as you move? It could be painful with inflammation and other symptoms or painless and simply annoying, but either way, you probably want to look into relieving your snapping hip.

The condition is known as snapping hip syndrome and is experienced by up to ten percent of the population. It’s mainly felt by athletes who stretch and bend their hips, such as dancers, gymnasts, soccer players, football kickers, and runners. 

The popping sound and sensation is caused by connective tissue snapping over the bone as you flex or extend the hip joint. The condition itself is often caused by chronically tight muscles. If your muscles are tight, they will pull on tendons and connective tissue, causing the pop you feel. 

You can release your tight muscles through exercises and a process known as pandiculation. This article will explain three different types of snapping hip syndrome and offer proper steps for relieving the symptoms. 

What Is Snapping Hip Syndrome?

Snapping hip syndrome occurs when the hip is flexed or extended, causing a snapping sensation. It is sometimes an audible snap and sometimes not. It can be painless or cause significant pain and other symptoms. 

Sometimes, snapping hip can lead to bursitis, which is when the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the hip joint swell and cause pain. 

Snapping hip syndrome involves three separate types, including:

  • External: This occurs when the iliotibial band snaps over the greater trochanter of the femur bone and is the most common type of snapping hip.
  • Internal: This type is caused by the iliopsoas tendon snapping over the bony structures in the hip and is also known as dancer’s hip.
  • Intra-articular: Unlike the other types, this type of snapping hip is not caused by tight muscles and connective tissue, but rather occurs from an injury to the hip joint or when bone fragments get trapped in the joint.

What Does Snapping Hip Syndrome Feel Like?

In most cases, snapping hip syndrome is painless and merely an annoying sensation. However, in some cases, it can cause pain and may lead to further issues, including:

  • Inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and connective tissue
  • Muscle weakness
  • The sensation that the hip is dislocated
  • Difficulting walking or standing up
  • Bursitis (with both external and internal snapping hip syndrome)

The tightness in the muscles around the hip can also result in functional leg length discrepancy in both internal and external snapping hip syndrome. 

What Are Common Treatments for Snapping Hip Syndrome?

Commonly, your doctor will prescribe rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, stretches, and/or physical therapy. While these treatments may address the symptoms of snapping hip, they do not address the true cause of the condition, which is the chronic muscle tension being set by your nervous system.

It’s important to see your doctor and perhaps get some x-rays done to ensure that the problem isn’t structural damage to your hip joint as in the intra-articular type of snapping hip. 

What Is the Most Effective Treatment for Snapping Hip Syndrome?

In order to understand the cause of snapping hip syndrome, it’s important to know how our muscles work. Our nervous system is what controls both the movement and level of contraction of our muscles. Over time, the nervous system learns and memorizes the way our muscles move and how much we keep them contracted. 

This learning process, known as muscle memory, allows us to move throughout the day easily and efficiently without having to consciously think about each movement. 

Unfortunately, if we move in harmful ways, our nervous system learns them, too. It doesn’t differentiate between good and bad muscle habits, it just recognizes what we tend to repeat and makes those movements automatic. 

As your nervous system learns to keep your muscles tight, your brain will keep sending the message to contract your muscles and eventually, your body contracts your muscles all the time — without you even noticing the difference or being aware of it. As you flex, abduct, or rotate your hip (or hips) over and over again, your muscles grow chronically tight, leading to snapping hip syndrome. 

Regular stretching exercises will not have any overall effect on your condition, because it does not change the learned messages the brain sends to your muscles to remain tight. Physical therapy may actually cause damage as it strengthens muscles, causing them to grow even tighter. 

So what can you do? A movement technique known as pandiculation helps relieve chronic muscle tension through gently contracting and releasing the muscles. This process sends accurate feedback to the nervous system regarding the level of tension in the muscles, which in turn, retrains the muscle memory’s patterns and resets the brain’s conditioning. 

Your chiropractor can help you learn about pandiculation and how it can effectively rewire your nervous system, loosen tight muscles, and relieve symptoms related to snapping hip syndrome. Preventing tension buildup in our muscles helps us maintain a healthy posture and efficient movement. 

If you feel that you may have snapping hip syndrome after reading this article and comparing it to your own symptoms, then it may be time to visit your chiropractic office for a diagnosis and treatment recommendation. Regular visits to your chiropractor may be beneficial to manage your condition. If you are ready to find relief for your snapping hip, then schedule a chiropractic appointment online or call us today.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.