Also known as the dancer's hip, the snapping hip syndrome is a condition characterized by a snapping sound or sensation in the hip whenever a person walks, runs, stands up or swings his/her leg around. In most cases, the condition is not painful but it can be quite uncomfortable and even annoying. Most people also don't experience any symptom other than the snapping sound or sensation. However, for dancers and athletes, this can come with weakness and pain that may interfere with their performance.
Snapping is usually caused by a muscle or tendon movement over a bony part in the hip. The most common affected site is the outside of the hip where there is a cluster of connective tissue called iliotibial band that goes over the protruding part of the thigh bone. This one is known as the greater trochanter. Whenever you stand up, the band goes behind the trochanter. But when you bend your hip goes to the front, causing the snapping noise. Another part that can snap with movement of the hip is the iliopsoas. This is the tendon that connects to the upper thigh particularly the inner part. Snapping can also happen in the socket in the pelvis that forms the hip joint.
You're probably wondering how this condition is treated. Actually, for most cases, the condition can go away without any treatment. But if it becomes painful or interferes with sports or other activities, you may go to the doctor to have immediate treatment. For minor cases, home remedies can work well. For one, you need to reduce or modify your physical activities to reduce pain on the hip or leg. Application of cold compress and taking in of over-the-counter pain medications may also help a lot. There are also some stretching exercises that your doctor may recommend. The stretches depend on the kind of snapping hip syndrome that you have. Some of those that you can try include:
• Quadriceps stretch - Stand about an arm's length from a wall. Use the hand opposite to the painful hip and put it on the wall for support. Use your other hand to hold the ankle of the painful leg. While keeping your knees together, pull that ankle up toward the buttocks. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute before releasing. Repeat the stretching three times.
• Hamstring stretch – To do this, you'll need to lie on your back in a doorway. Your position should be that your upper body is on one side of the doorway and the lower body is on the other. The painful hip should be against the door frame. Gently raise the affected leg and put your foot on the wall beside the door frame. Hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute before you lower it slowly back to position. Repeat three times.
If the pain is not relieved with any of these home remedies, visit your doctor. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy that involves stretching and strengthening of your muscles and tendons. He/she may also inject corticosteroid if there is any inflammation. It is very rare that a doctor would recommend surgery for this condition.