Snapping Hip Syndrome

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Snapping Hip Syndrome Overview

Snapping hip syndrome is commonly a painless and harmless condition, but the sensation of hip popping can become bothersome for some Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California patients affected by this hip condition. This condition is marked by an audible “click” or “snap” that originates near the outside of the hip joint during flexion, extension and rotational motions. Many patients report the snapping sensation when walking, swinging the leg or rising from a chair. Orthopedic hip specialist, Dr. Jervis Yau is available to assist patients suffering from snapping hip syndrome before the condition causes bursitis or another complex hip injury.

The hip popping associated with snapping hip syndrome occurs when a tendon or muscle moves over a bony protrusion in the hip joint. The two variants are called internal snapping hip and external snapping hip.  The most common is external snapping hit where the iliotibial band snaps over the greater trochanter through hip motion. When the hip is aligned straight, the iliotibial band is located behind the greater trochanter. As the hip flexes, the IT band moves over the trochanter and may cause an audible and palpable pop or clunk.  In internal snapping hip, the iliopsoas will snap over the anterior acetabulum or femoral head as the hip is moved from flexion to extension.

Over time, snapping hip syndrome may lead to hip bursitis in certain patients. Bursitis is classified as painful swelling of the fluid-filled sac designed to cushion the hip joint. Dancers and other athletes are prone to both conditions because of repetitive hip bending.

Snapping Hip Syndrome Symptoms

Snapping hip syndrome may or may not be painful for patients, depending on the severity of the condition. Many patients do not seek medical assistance until hip popping becomes painful. Snapping hip syndrome may cause patients to experience hip pain and inflammation that worsens with activity. The pain and inflammation typically subsides when the activity is stopped for a period of time.

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Snapping Hip Syndrome Diagnosis

Dr. Yau will diagnose snapping hip syndrome after a complete medical review and physical examination. He will locate where the pain generator is and the activities that cause hip popping. He will also have the patient move the hip joint in various directions in order to demonstrate the snapping. Dr. Yau commonly performs x-rays and MRI to rule out potential problems associated with the bony and soft structures within the hip joint.

Snapping Hip Syndrome Treatment

Non-Surgical

Mainstay treatment for snapping hip syndrome involves rest of the affected area and modifying activities. Dr. Yau may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy aimed at stretching and strengthening the muscles surrounding the injured hip joint. If a patient developed bursitis, Dr. Yau may consider a corticosteroid injection into the affected bursa.

Surgical

Hip arthroscopy is only recommended if patients have an associated hip condition, such as damaged cartilage, loose bodies or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI). Dr. Yau will determine the appropriate surgical procedure based on injury location and severity.

For additional information on snapping hip syndrome, or to determine if you require treatment for your hip popping, please contact the orthopedic office of Dr. Jervis Yau, hip specialist located in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities.

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