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There are various muscles, tendons and supportive tissues surrounding the hip joint that slide and move with the bending and movement of the leg. When they rub against bone, it can create a snapping sensation while sliding from one position to another. This sensation is called snapping hip syndrome. At DOCS Health, our orthopedic physicians provide the diagnosis and treatment for snapping hip syndrome at our medical facility in Los Angeles.

What Is Snapping Hip Syndrome?

With snapping hip syndrome, there is a popping or snapping sensation when the hip performs certain functions. It can be when you bend, lift your leg, sit or stand. In most cases, snapping hip syndrome is not painful, but it can be annoying. If there is pain caused by snapping hip syndrome, it is usually due to irritating another component in the hip, like the bursa.

Types of Snapping Hip Issues

There are a few common tissues that can “snap” as they slide over the bones in the hip joint. Determining the location and source of the snapping sensation is necessary to find the right treatment option. Some of the causes of snapping hip symptoms include:

  • IT band syndrome – The iliotibial (IT) band connects to the outer hip bone and stretches down the outside of the leg and knee to the tibia. The IT band slides over the outside of the hip from back to front when bending, which can cause a snapping sensation at the outside of the hip. This can also irritate the hip bursa and lead to painful bursitis.
  • Rectus femoris tendon – When you bend and straighten the hip, the rectus femoris tendon in the front of the thigh moves over the top of the femur head. This can cause a snapping sensation in the front of the hip.
  • Hamstring tendon – The hamstring tendons attach to the back of the pelvis at the ischial tuberosity. If the tendon is tight, it may make a snapping sensation in the back of the hip as it moves over the ischial tuberosity.

Snapping hip treatment is usually conservative. Physical therapy is often recommended to find stretching exercises for tight tendons, muscles or other tissues. Cortisone injections can be used to reduce inflammation or bursitis to relieve pain. In severe cases, surgery can be performed to remove bone or adjust tissues to allow for smoother movement.

If you have snapping hip syndrome, contact us at DOCS Health. We can schedule a consultation with an orthopedic specialist at our Los Angeles clinic to discuss treatment options.