Snapping Hip

What is Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip?

Snapping hip is also known as dancers hip. The hip can be referred to as a region or a joint i.e. acetabulofemoral joint. A hip is a joint situated between the femur and the acetabulum of pelvis. The hip is weight bearing part of the body that also maintains balance and is exposed to wear and tear. The iliotibial band is a tough wide tendon that passes along the outer side of the joint of the hip. The iliotibial band begins from the outer side of the pelvis, which is known as the iliac crest, and inserts just under the knee present on the lateral condyle that belongs to the tibia. The iliotibial band also stabilizes the knee during runs.

A bursa is a sac that is filled with lubricating fluid situated between tissues like muscles, tendons, skin and bone that lessens irritation and friction between the tissues and acts like a cushion for the joint. The snapping hip or dancers hip is a condition that forces the trochanteric bursa to become inflamed resulting in snapping sound when the iliotibial tendon holds on the greater trochanter, which is the bony prominence on the outer side of the hip.

Snapping hip or dancers hip is a condition in which a snapping sensation is felt and a snapping sound is also heard from the hip while running, getting up from a chair, walking and swinging the leg around. In many patients Snapping hip or dancers hip is quite irritating and they suffer only with the symptom of snapping sensation or sound whereas athletes and dancers may suffer with weakness and pain that also restricts their regular performances.

Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip

Types of Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip

The snapping hip or Dancers Hip is broadly classified into two types

  • External or lateral snapping hip.
  • Internal snapping hip.

External or Lateral Snapping Hip: External or lateral snapping hip is suffered at the outer side of the hip. External or lateral snapping hip occurs when the muscle fibers such as gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae flick across the greater trochanter. However, this condition is usually not painful

Internal Snapping Hip: Internal snapping hip occurs when the iliopsoas muscle flips across the iliopectineal eminence. This type may produce pain

Causes and Risk Factors of Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip

Snapping Hip Problem is More Likely Among Gymnasts and Ballet Dancers

Snapping hip or dancers hip is a kind of overuse sports injury. Snapping hip is caused by inflexible and weak medial hip rotators, tight iliotibial band, gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae
Individuals who perform dynamic activities such as gymnastics, football, running, and ballet dancing very commonly suffer with snapping hip or dancers hip as these are of repetitive nature and therefore may place stress on iliotibial band, gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae

Signs and Symptoms of Snapping Hip or Dancer's Hip

  • Clicking or snapping on the outer side of the hip is felt i.e. external snapping hip or dancers hip.
  • A feeling of snapping or clicking at the front side of the hip i.e. internal snapping hip or dancers hip.
  • Occasionally a snapping sound can also be heard.
  • Pain is often experienced in cases of internal snapping, but may also be experienced in cases of external snapping.

Treatment for Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip

In case of painless snapping hip or dancers hip, no treatment is required

Conservative treatment of snapping hip or dancers hip may include:

  • Rest.
  • Avoiding activities that aggravate the symptoms of snapping hip or dancers hip.
  • Cold therapy is an effective treatment for pain associated with Snapping hip or dancers hip.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen may help in reducing discomfort associated with Snapping hip or dancers hip.
  • In case of hip bursitis, corticosteroid injections help in reducing not only the inflammation but also alleviate the symptoms.
  • Modification in exercise and sport activities for avoiding repetitive movement of hip such as reducing the time spent on a bicycle and swimming using only the arms.
  • Stretching exercises are also helpful in reducing discomfort associated with Snapping hip or dancers hip.

Surgery is performed in very rare cases only when conservative methods fail to work appropriately. Surgery depends upon the cause and the severity of snapping hip or dancers hip. Arthroscopy of the hip is the common form of surgery for Snapping hip or dancers hip if indicated.

Exercises for Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip

Quadriceps Stretch Exercise for Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip:

Suffering From Snapping Hip?  Performing Quadriceps Stretch Exercise Can Be Beneficial!

This exercise is useful to overcome the problems of Snapping hip or dancers hip and is performed by standing away from a wall with an arm length distance and placing the hand opposite to the affected hip against the wall. Now with the help of other hand grab the ankle of affected leg, place the knees together in order to pull the ankle in upwards direction toward the buttocks. Hold the position for about 30 to 60 seconds and release. Repeat thrice.

Hamstring Stretch Exercise for Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip:

For Problems Related to Snapping Hip, Performing Hamstring Stretch Exercise Can Be Beneficial!

Hamstring stretch exercise is performed by lying with the flat back on the floor between the doorway in order to keep the upper half of the body on one side of the doorway and the lower half of the body on the other side placing the affected hip against the frame of the door. Now raise the affected leg in order to rest it along the wall present next to the frame of the door. Hold the position for about 30 to 60 seconds and drop. Repeat thrice.

Piriformis Stretch Exercise for Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip:

Suffering From Snapping Hip? Performing Piriformis Stretch Exercise Can Be Beneficial!

Piriformis stretch exercise for Snapping hip or dancers hip is performed by lying down with the back straight by keeping both the knees in a bent position. Place the foot of healthy leg flat on the floor in order to rest the ankle of affected leg over the knee of healthy leg. Now grab the thigh of the healthy leg in order to pull the knee toward chest. Hold the position for about 30 to 60 seconds and release. Repeat thrice.

Iliotibial Band Stretch Exercise for Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip:

For Problems Related to Snapping Hip, Performing Iliotibial Band Stretch Exercise Can Be Beneficial!

This exercise is performed by standing with the legs joined together. Now cross the healthy leg in front of the affected leg and bend down to touch the toes. Hold the position for about 30 seconds and release. Repeat thrice.

Tests to Diagnose Snapping Hip or Dancers Hip

The initial step taken for diagnosing snapping hip or dancers hip is to find out its exact cause. A thorough examination of the painful points and the time the symptoms exacerbate are also required for diagnosis. Patient is also asked to stand in order to move the hip in different directions to repeat the snapping. Moving of the tendon when extending or bending the hip also indicates snapping hip or dancers hip.

Typically an x-ray is required for confirming the severity of snapping hip or dancers hip. However, this is done with the combination of other tests for ruling out any other issues related to joints and bones.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 2, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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