‘Snapping Hip’ Syndrome

Snapping hip syndrome (SHS) — medically referred to as coxa saltans — is a hip disorder. It is a condition often seen in dancers which results in a snapping noise and feeling around the hip joint.


A snapping hip can be internal or external.

• External symptoms include a clicking or snapping feeling on the outside of the hip.

• Internal snapping hip will be felt on the inside or front of the hip.

•Sometimes an audible snapping noise can be heard.

•This is not usually a painful condition although internal is more likely to be painful.


When muscle tendons become inflamed, often from overuse, they can click as they rub over the hip socket bone. As the muscle stretches, it creates tension that results in a snapping sensation when released.SHS is more common in women, though it can affect people of all genders and ages.



Typically results from tightness in the hip flexor muscle and tendon in front of the hip.

• The iliopsoas tendon, which connects the two inner hip muscles to the femur, moves over the iliopectineal eminence, a protrusion of the pelvic bone.

• A quadriceps muscle, called the rectus femoris, goes over the ball of the ball-and-socket joint of the hip


Typically results from tightness in the iliotibial band or gluteus maximus on the outside of the hip.

• The iliotibial band, a wide strip of fibrous tissue, goes over a rounded protrusion of the femur called the greater trochanter.

• The gluteus maximus muscle (the large muscle in the glute) moves over the greater trochanter.


Rest: People with snapping hip syndrome are advised to avoid the motions that cause the snapping, popping or clicking sensation. Resting limits joint irritation and allows the affected tendon, muscle or bursa to heal.

NSAIDs: Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for a limited period of time may ease inflammation and hip pain.

Physical therapy: can help loosen tension and encourage healing in the muscles and tendons that cause external and inner snapping hip.

Stretching: Hip Flexors, Iliotibial band, Quadriceps and Glute stretches

Massage: Just as stretching can help loosen tendons and muscles, a deep tissue massage or trigger-point massage can help reduce muscle tension, and reduce snapping hip symptoms.

Retraining: Increasing an athlete’s physical awareness, improving posture, and modifying form can change the hip’s biomechanics and improve symptoms.

Steroid injections: A physician may recommend a steroid injection if the pain from the snapping hip syndrome interferes with daily living.

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