Snapping Hip

Snapping hip syndrome is a condition in which you hear or feel a snapping sound in the hip while walking, running, or getting up from a seated position.. Movement of the muscles or tendons over a bony protrusion in the hip gives rise to the snapping sound, which can occur in the back, front or side of the hip. It is usually painless and harmless, but may be accompanied with pain and weakness in some. People who are involved in sport or dance that requires repetitive hip flexion are most vulnerable and it may affect their performance. Sometimes, the syndrome can lead to bursitis, a painful swelling of the fluid-filled sacs called bursae that cushion the hip joint.


The most common cause of snapping hip syndrome is tightness in the muscles and tendons surrounding the hip. Sometimes, a loose piece of cartilage, a cartilage tear or pieces of broken cartilage or bone in the joint space can lead to the snapping sound. This may also lock the hip causing dysfunction and pain.


Dr. Fischer will discuss your history and perform a physical examination to detect the exact cause of snapping. You may be asked to reproduce the snapping sound by moving your hip in different directions. Imaging studies may be ordered by Dr. Fischer to gain more understanding of the underlying problem.


Rest and modification of activities may be suggested initially by Dr. Fischer followed by conservative therapeutic options. The therapeutic strategies for snapping hip include:

Home care

A few home remedies can be followed if you experience minor snapping hip pain, which include:

  • Applying ice to the affected area
  • Using NSAIDs to reduce discomfort
  • Avoiding repetitive hip movements by changing your activities

Consult Dr. Fischer if the discomfort persists even after following the home remedies.

Physical Therapy

You may benefit from specific guidance by a Physical Therapist. Tendon stretching exercises such as iliotibial band stretch and piriformis stretch will be indicated depending on the type of snapping you experience.

Corticosteroid Injection

Dr. Fischer may recommend a corticosteroid to be injected into the bursa to reduce the pain and inflammation around the hip joint if you have hip bursitis.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is recommended only when conservative approaches do not have an effect in resolving the snapping hip syndrome. The type of surgery will depend on the factors that cause snapping hip. Surgical procedures include:

  • Hip arthroscopy: This procedure is used to lengthen a muscle, release a tendon, or remove/repair a torn labrum. Your surgeon will insert an arthroscope (small camera) through small incisions into the hip joint so that small surgical instruments can be guided with the help of images displayed on a large screen.
  • Open procedure: The open surgery can help your surgeon to gain better access to the hip problem. An open incision will be made to resolve the issue of snapping hip.