What Is Snapping Hip Syndrome?

What is it?

Snapping hip syndrome also known as Coxa Saltans. It is when a tendon runs over the bone and it makes an audible sound in the hip while in motion. This is usually a clicking or a snapping noise. Although some people are asymptomatic, it affects around 10% of the population and causes them pain and discomfort.

Snapping Hip Diagram


What is the cause of Snapping Hip Syndrome?

There are three types of snapping hip syndrome. They are internal, external and intra-articular.

Internal: This is when you feel snapping at the front of the hip. This is due to the hip flexor tendon sliding over the hip bone.

External: When you feel pain or snapping on the side of the thigh bone on the greater trochanter. It often results from overuse of the hip, especially the iliotibial band (ITB). Sometimes patients will describe it as “hip dislocating”.

Intra-articular: This is a lot less common out of the three. The pain usually stems from traumatic injury to the hip capsule where it articulates with the femur.


What are the symptoms?

Pain and swelling: Due to constant clicking and sliding over the bony structure, pain can be produced upon movement.

Muscle weakness on the legs: Due to pain and discomfort, patients tend to compensate with the other leg which results in muscle atrophy and inactivity of the injured leg.

A sense of dislocation: Sometimes patient may feel like their hip is unstable and feeling the hip is going out of place


How can physiotherapy help?

Diagnosis: Physiotherapists are trained to perform tests and make correct diagnosis. It is important to go to a professional to minimise the risk of misdiagnosing an injury.

Manual therapy: Soft tissue release around the hip is essential as tissues and other structures get tight and sore.

Exercise prescription: Evidence suggests that exercise is one of the best treatments for snapping hip syndrome. Physiotherapists will prescribe stretches and strengthening exercises to reduce pain and minimise the reinjury rate.


Take home message:

If you have a clicking noise on your hip and feeling some kind of pain, you might be suffering from Snapping hip syndrome. If it is preventing you from performing sport or daily activities, make sure to check it out with a professional before it becomes something more serious.


This information can be used to gain a better understanding of snapping hip syndrome. To find out more about how we can help, or to book in for a consultation you can contact us via our Limp in Leap out Physiotherapy & Wellness contact us page, or book online here.

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