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Snapping Hip

This is a snapping or a popping sensation in your hip. It may happen when you stand up, when you walk, or when you move your leg a certain way.

Benton A. Emblom, MD and Michael K. Ryan, MD are members of The Hip Center at Andrews Sports Medicine. They are both fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons who commonly treat snapping hip.

Snapping hip is commonly caused by abnormally tight muscles and tendons in the hip. Instead of gliding smoothly across the tendons in the hip. Instead of gliding smoothly across the joint as you move your leg, an overly tight tendon can catch on protruding parts of your thigh or hip bones. This happens in several places in the hip, depending which tendon is involved. Snapping hip is also caused by damage to the cartilage that lines your hip joint.

If you have this condition, you feel a snapping sensation with certain leg movements. You may hear a popping sound when it happens. A snapping hip can be bothersome. It is not usually painful, but it can be for some people. And, it can sometimes leads to bursitis in the hip.

Internal Snapping Hip: This is caused when the Iliopsoas Tendon becomes chronically inflamed. When the tendon becomes inflamed, it can snap over the femoral head with movement of the hip, causing a painful snapping or clicking sensation on the anterior or front side of the hip.

External Snapping Hip: Similar to internal snapping hip, in that it is caused by inflammation of a tendon and irritated by movement of the hip joint. However, external snapping hip is caused by inflammation of the iliotibial band, a band of tissue that runs down the outside of the hip. This is commonly associated with Trochanteric Bursitis, inflammation of the Trochanteric Bursa. These conditions can cause painful snapping on the outside of the hip.

Snapping hip can be treated with rest and by avoiding activities that cause it to happen. You may benefit from injections and from physical therapy. If these aren’t helpful, surgery may be needed.

Benton A. Emblom, MD and Michael K. Ryan, MD can create a plan that is right for you. For more information, contact Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center at (205) 939.3699 and ask to speak with Dr. Emblom's or Dr. Ryan's appointment scheduler.