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Snapping hip syndrome: Physio can help!

Snapping hip syndrome: Physio can help!


Snapping hip syndrome is characterised by a snapping or popping sensation, which occurs around your hip when it is in motion. These snaps/pops are normally painless in the beginning but can often become painful if left untreated. As you muscle or tendon moves over a boney prominence, you will feel a snapping sensation. Snapping hip syndrome most often occurs in people who are 15 to 40 years old.

Snapping hip syndrome is common in those who participate in sports that require repetitive forced hip motions e.g.

  • Ballet
  • Gymnastics
  • Horse riding
  • Hurdling
  • Sprinting
  • Soccer
  • Weight lifting

Snapping hip syndrome can occur at the anterior, posterior or lateral aspect of the hip. Anterior snapping hip occurs when the hip flexor tendon moves over the ball of the hip joint as the hip flexes and extends. Posterior snapping hip syndrome describes movement of the hamstring tendon over the sit bone of the pelvis in the buttock region. You IT band flicking over the lateral boney prominence causes lateral snapping hip.

Snapping hip normally presents as a result of increased tightness of the muscles and tendons surrounding and moving the hip joint, leg length discrepancies. Also, poor lumbo-pelvic strength and stability and poor biomechanics.

Snapping Hip Syndrome Treatment

Physiotherapy is the treatment of choice. When conservative management has failed, you might turn to surgical management. Physiotherapy beings with a thorough examination of the patient. This includes both static and dynamic examination. In particular lumbar and hip range of motion, pelvic stability tests, leg length measurement, functional movements related to the patients chosen sport. Any abnormalities noted here will direct the course of treatment. Normally snapping hip syndrome occurs as a result of a combination of overactivity and tightness of certain muscles with under activity and weakness of other muscles.

You may take anti-inflammatories with activity modifications during the acute phase of your treatment. Soft tissue massage, trigger point release and dry needling may then be used to lengthen and release affected muscles and tendons. You will be prescribed a number of stretches as treatment. This is to maintain and gradually increase flexibility of the muscle-tendon units responsible for causing the snapping.

You will work on increasing muscle strength of your weak muscles once you have regained your full range of motion.This often includes strengthening of the glut stability muscles, deep abdominals and sometimes hamstrings. Functional training, focusing on specific movement patterns is the final stage of treatment, and probably the most important. This component of treatment incorporates all strength and movement control exercises a patient has worked on up to that date. It is important to work through each phase of treatment to ensure a successful return to sport and prevent reoccurrence.

If you suspect you may have snapping hip syndrome, contact us here. Our physiotherapists can assess your injury and provide you with a tailored treatment program.

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