Snapping hip is usually painless although the sensation can be annoying. Young athletes and dancers frequently experience snapping hip. The snapping sensation results from the movement of a muscle or tendon (the tough, fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone) over a bony structure. In the hip, the most common site is at the outer side where a band of connective tissue called the iliotibial band passes over the greater trochanter of the femur. Another tendon that could cause a snapping hip runs from the inside of the thighbone up through the pelvis called the rectus femoris tendon. As you bend the hip, the tendon shifts across the head of the thighbone; when you straighten the hip, the tendon moves back to the side of the thighbone. This back-and-forth motion across the head of the thighbone causes the snapping.
Patients typically experience a snapping sensation and/or an audible snapping sound with certain movements of the hip. Patients may experience pain when snapping occurs.
What to expect from therapy
Treatment and rehabilitation for snapping hip is designed to increase flexibility of the hip muscles and soft tissue involved. Your physical therapist may utilize manual therapy (hands on) techniques to promote realignment of tissues. Complete restoration of function will also include a comprehensive exercise program emphasizing flexibility, strength, and balance.