Snapping hip injury
Snapping hip injury, sometimes called dancer’s hip, is a condition in which the person feels a snapping of the hip when it is flexed or extended. The snapping is caused by the movement of a muscle or tendon over a bony structure. Snapping hip is categorised by the location of the injury. It may be to the side (lateral) in which case the snapping or clicking sound is on the outside of the hip; or at the front (internal) with the snapping sound at the front. The most common site is the outside. As you bend the hip the tendon moves across the thighbone, as you straighten the hip, the tendon moves back to the side of the thighbone. This back-and-forth movement, or dance, if you will, is what causes the snapping.
This condition is common in dancers, soccer players, track and field athletes and gymnasts, who use repetitive hip flexion movements. There may be an audible snapping or popping sound followed by pain which decreases when the activity stops. Symptoms can last for months or years without treatment.
Snapping hip injury is sometimes painless and can be left alone. Where there is pain, the athlete should apply the RICE formula (rest, apply ice and compression and elevate the affected area). Rest from running or jumping is important, especially running uphill. Leg lifts and flutter kicks should be avoided. Stretching of tight hip muscles is helpful; this should be done for 6-8 weeks to get rid of symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain. Surgery may be required in extreme cases.
Where physiotherapy is required it will focus on pain management and myofascial release (manual massage techniques to stretch the fascia and relieve pain). Active and passive stretching of the hip and knee will form the core of treatment. We will educate you on proper technique and activity modification. Once symptoms have decreased, a maintenance program of stretching and strengthening exercises may begin. Light aerobic activity for warm-up followed by stretching and strengthening of the hamstrings, hip flexors and the iliotibial band will help to prevent recurrence.