Snapping hip syndrome, also known as coxa saltans or dancer’s hip, is a condition that causes a loud snapping or popping sound or sensation in the hip area when you run, walk, get up from a chair, – anytime your hip joint is moved.
There are 3 types of snapping hip syndrome, these are:
Internal: occurs when a muscle or tendon slides over bony protrusions at the front of the hip joint.
External: occurs when a muscle or tendon slides over bony protrusions at the top of your femur (thigh bone).
Intra-articular: occurs when there is a problem with the hip joint.
Majority of snapping hip syndrome is harmless and mostly a source of annoyance. However, for others, snapping hip syndrome can be accompanied by pain and discomfort.
What causes snapping hip syndrome?
In general, snapping hip syndrome is caused by muscle and tendon tension and tightness, this can be due to:
Repetitive movement: overuse of the hip joint during certain movements such as dancing, can lead to the tendons and muscles around the joint becoming tight and snapping over the bony prominences of your hip.
Injury: injury to the cartilage, muscles, or tendons can cause snapping hip syndrome.
What are the symptoms of snapping hip syndrome?
The symptoms of snapping hip syndrome include:
Snapping or popping sensation in your hip joint
Audible snapping or popping sound during hip movement
Stiffness or limited range of motion in your hip joint
Mild discomfort or pain in the hip area
If you notice any of the symptoms, make an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Dr Puah KL is our Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Artisan Sports & Orthopaedic Surgery. He used to serve the sports service of Singapore General Hospital - the highest volume trauma centre for orthopaedics in Singapore.
Snapping hip syndrome may or may not be painful, depending on the severity of the condition. Some individuals experience no pain at all, while others may feel a sharp or dull pain in the hip area when snapping occurs.
In some cases, the pain may be mild and will go away on its own, however, others may experience lasting hip pain that will require treatment.
Who is at risk of snapping hip syndrome in Singapore?
Snapping hip syndrome can affect anyone, but certain groups of people may be more at risk, such as:
Athletes: individuals who participate in sports that involve repetitive hip movements such as soccer, gymnastics, and running are at an increased risk of developing snapping hip syndrome.
Dancers: dancers are at high risk of developing snapping hip syndrome due to repetitive hip movements.
Age: adolescents are prone to snapping hip syndrome because they go through growth spurts which can cause tightness or tension in their muscles and tendons.
Gender: females are more prone to snapping hip syndrome than males.
Surgery: individuals with a history of hip surgery or received intramuscular injections in their buttocks may be at a higher risk of developing snapping hip syndrome.
How is snapping hip syndromediagnosed?
Snapping hip syndrome is diagnosed using a variety of methods, these are:
Physical examination: your orthopaedist will start by asking about your symptoms and medical history. A physical examination will be performed to observe your hip movement and feeling for any snapping or popping sensation.