Snapping Hip Syndrome


What Is Snapping Hip Syndrome?

Snapping hip syndrome is a hip problem that causes a snapping sensation and popping noise in the hip. You may experience these symptoms any time you move your hip, like while walking or standing from a seated position.

If you participate in activities with a lot of bending, like dancing, you may face a higher risk of snapping hip syndrome. Snapping hip syndrome can also happen with growth spurts and sudden increases in activity coupled with not enough time for your body to recover. While the condition isn’t usually serious, it can sometimes cause pain or lead to hip bursitis.

At Aurora Health Care, we understand how distressing hip problems like snapping hip syndrome can be, and we’re here to help. Your care starts with a detailed physical exam, which assures an accurate diagnosis. Our sports medicine experts then deliver the treatment option that best meet your needs – whether that’s physical therapy, injections or minimally invasive surgery.

The Aurora Difference

Care for Snapping Hip Syndrome from Joint Pain Specialists

As one of Wisconsin’s largest health care providers, Aurora Health Care’s orthopedic experts and sports medicine doctors treat a large number of active adults and athletes. Whether your symptoms just started or your hips have been snapping for years, we have the experience to help you get relief.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Hip expertise: Since the hip is a complex joint, it can be difficult to identify the source of your symptoms. Our team includes orthopedic experts with special training in helping people overcome hip problems. They make sure you get an accurate diagnosis by ruling out conditions with similar symptoms, like hip bursitis. And you can feel the benefits of their additional training even after your diagnosis, as they help you get the best possible treatment and put you on the road to recovery. Meet our sports health team.
  • Emphasis on nonsurgical treatments: Our experts help most people feel better with nonsurgical treatments, including rest and physical therapy. These treatments can help reduce the swelling that causes snapping hip syndrome. For lingering pain, we help people get relief by injecting medications directly into the affected tissue. Find out more about our sports injury treatments.
  • Convenience: At Aurora, you don’t have to wait to start feeling better. Many of our doctors offer same-day appointments. You can also send us a message to get your questions answered. Find out more: Get sports health care.


Causes of Snapping Hip Syndrome

Snapping hip syndrome happens when the muscles and tendons supporting your hip become unusually tight. Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscle to bone. The snapping sensation or popping noise occurs when the tight tissue crosses over a bony ridge in your hip.

This condition usually does not cause pain. However, snapping hip syndrome can lead to swelling in the bursa, which is a special sac of fluid that cushions your hip joint. Bursitis is a condition that happens when the swelling leads to pain that just doesn’t quit. Find out more about hip bursitis (trochanteric bursitis).


Snapping Hip Syndrome: Diagnosis & Imaging

We are often able to diagnose snapping hip syndrome after a physical exam. During your exam, we:

  • Listen carefully as you explain the sensations you are feeling and what activities cause snapping
  • Ask about your medical history, including whether you’ve had any previous hip problems
  • Help you move your hip in certain ways while applying gentle pressure so we can understand how the tendons are moving
  • Order imaging tests as necessary – an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help us rule out other hip problems, including structural problems

Find out more about orthopedic diagnosis at Aurora.


Treating Snapping Hip Syndrome

The best treatment for snapping hip syndrome starts with a period of rest to allow the tendon to heal naturally. Once you’ve rested enough for your symptoms to improve, we can help you plan a smooth transition back to your favorite activities with the help of other treatments, including:

  • Physical therapy: By working with one of our physical therapists, you can stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons supporting your hip. Find out more about orthopedic physical therapy.
  • Injections: We reduce inflammation in the bursa with a corticosteroid injection. Our orthopedic experts use special imaging technology when necessary to guide the needle to just the right spot. Find out more about injections for joint pain.
  • Arthroscopic surgery: In rare cases, surgery is necessary to lengthen or remove the tendon that’s causing the snapping. Our orthopedic experts specialize in minimally invasive techniques, which involve sophisticated tools and the smallest necessary incisions. These techniques reduce recovery time so you can get back to your favorite activities sooner. Learn more about minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.

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