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Snapping hip syndrome is characterised by an audible or visible snap or click in or around the hip joint when walking, getting up from a chair, or swinging the leg around. Athletes appear to have an increased risk of snapping hip syndrome due to repetitive and physically demanding movements of the hips and lower limbs.
Snapping hip syndrome can be prevented by stretching the tight lower limb and hip muscles regularly, as well as strengthening the weak core muscles that help to stabilise your hip and maintain your posture.
1. Strengthen the hip and lower limb muscles
An ideal exercise programme should also include exercises that strengthen the lower back muscles, the gluteal muscles and the hip flexor muscles. These muscles are important as they help to stabilise your hips and maintain your posture during activities.
These exercises may include stepdowns, clamshells, front and side planks, bridges, lunges as well as squats.
2. Stretch your muscles and ITB
Stretch after your workout to keep the ITB, hip flexor muscles (anterior hip and thigh muscles), the gluteal muscles (backside muscles) and the hamstrings (posterior thigh muscles) flexible and prevent them from tightening.
You may also use a foam roller to stretch them after exercise, especially when the muscles are still warm and supple.
3. Warm up adequately
It is recommended to perform 5 to 10 minutes of a low-to-moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking, before engaging in the more strenuous phase of your exercise routine to ensure that these muscles are warmed up prior to the activity.
Snapping hip syndrome has multiple causes and is classified based on the anatomic structure that is the cause or the source of the snapping sensation.
Three main snapping hip categories have been recognised:
There is no data available on the prevalence or incidence of snapping hip syndrome in our local population.
In the United States, the syndrome is most often found in individuals aged 15-40 years and affects females slightly more than males. The most common athletes to be affected are ballet dancers, runners and soccer players.
The diagnosis is often obtained clinically through a history and physical examination.
Imaging tests may also be ordered to confirm the clinical diagnosis. Although x-rays of people with snapping hip do not typically show anything abnormal, x-rays or other tests may be ordered to exclude any other problems with the bones or joints.
Ultrasound examination examines the soft tissues, and when performed dynamically during hip motion, may visualise the tendon snapping and any accompanying inflammation of fluid-filled pockets (bursitis).
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can sometimes identify intra-articular causes of snapping hip syndrome.
Seek medical attention if there is pain or if the injury interferes with normal activities.