Is Your Hip Popping And Locking?

Dancers of all disciplines depend on a limber, flexible body to consistently pull off impressive moves. However, when the body starts making noises or movement becomes painful, dancers should take note. Snapping hip syndrome is a common dancing injury capable of causing discomfort and pain. Sometimes called a dancer’s hip, the condition can interfere with daily activities and often requires medical attention or surgery. However, surgical intervention is not always necessary. Read on to better understand this hip condition and determine when medical evaluation is needed.


What is snapping hip syndrome?

Known medically as coxa saltans, snapping hip syndrome is characterized by a snapping or popping sensation in the hip joint during movement. This condition is caused by muscle tendon tightness and can be internal or external. An internal snapping hip occurs when the iliopsoas tendon snaps over bony structures in the hip joint. An external snapping hip is caused by the iliotibial band rubbing against the greater trochanter of the femur. Snapping hip syndrome can be painful and may limit range of motion (ROM) in the hip joint. Other symptoms can include stiffness, swelling, and difficulty walking or performing specific movements. Typically, dancers and athletes are more prone to developing snapping hip syndrome due to repetitive hip movements and muscle tightness.

When to see a doctor

Any individual experiencing snapping hip syndrome should seek medical care if the condition causes persistent pain that impairs daily activities. If there is no improvement with conservative management, schedule a doctor’s visit. The snapping hip is sometimes accompanied by swelling, inflammation, or difficulty walking, so seeking medical evaluation is crucial. The doctor will be able to properly diagnose the snapping hip syndrome and determine the most appropriate treatment.

Assessing the hip

When an individual visits a doctor for snapping hip syndrome, a detailed medical history and thorough physical examination will be conducted. During the examination, the doctor may perform specific movements and tests to assess the range of motion (ROM), stability, and any signs of tenderness in the hip joint. The doctor may also order additional diagnostic tests, such as an x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to help further evaluate the hip joint and rule out other underlying conditions. Sometimes, the doctor may refer the individual to a specialist, such as an orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist, for further evaluation and treatment.

Will you need surgery?

The decision to undergo surgery for snapping hip syndrome will depend on the severity and persistence of symptoms, as well as the individual’s response to conservative management. If the condition does not improve with conservative measures such as physical therapy (PT), rest, and medication, then surgery may be needed. Some possible surgical interventions for snapping hip syndrome include lengthening the iliotibial band or the iliopsoas tendon. Thanks to minimally invasive surgery (MIS), dancers or individuals with hip pain experience a low risk for complications and can leave the hospital the same day.

Snap out of it

Individuals experiencing snapping hip syndrome should not be overly concerned. Most cases are resolved with conservative treatment. By following a proper management plan, which may include PT, rest, and medication, most individuals with dancer’s hip can expect improvement. Overall, the prognosis for snapping hip syndrome is usually favorable, and surgery is typically unnecessary unless conservative measures fail to provide relief. If surgery is recommended, the use of MIS and dedication to recovery will allow for a fast return to normal activities.

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