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Snapping Hip Syndrome FAQ (“Why Do My Hips Pop?”)

Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO

What Is “Snapping Hip?”

Do your hips pop, snap, crack or click when you move your hip joints? Do simple motions like walking or getting up from a chair produce these sounds or sensations in one or both of your hips? If so, you could have Snapping Hip Syndrome.

Is it bad for my hips to pop?

While typically painless, Snapping Hip Syndrome may be irritating and cause mild discomfort. Some types of hip popping are relatively harmless and do not lead to any significant adverse outcomes. Other types of hip popping, however, can cause problems later in life. That’s why it’s important to have any regular hip popping checked out by a doctor.

What can I do for popping hips?

By taking some preventative measures today, you may be able to prevent permanent hip damage later. Young dancers, who are especially prone to Snapping Hip Syndrome, are one group that may benefit from addressing popping hips now, as their joints are still young and the body has time to change.

If your popping hips bother you, here are a few things you may be able to try at home before seeking out medical care:

  • Limit activity levels – especially activities that require repetitive motions of the hip, such as cycling and swimming.
  • Ice the hip joint where pain, tenderness or swelling occurs (if any).
  • Use an NSAID (such as ibuprofen) to manage pain and inflammation.

What treatments are there for Snapping Hip Syndrome?

If conservative at-home care is not enough to manage your symptoms (or if your popping hip has you concerned about your long term health), consider seeing a Houston orthopedic doctor for evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Your treatment options may include:

  • Physical Therapy for strengthening the surrounding muscles. Common exercises may include iliotibial band stretch and piriformis stretch, depending on the cause of your popping hip. (Learn more about how a physical therapist may be able to help you.)
  • Corticosteroid injections. These may be useful for managing bursitis (painful inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac around the hip joint).
  • Hip Surgery. In rare cases, orthopedic surgery may be recommended to improve symptoms caused by Snapping Hip Syndrome. Labral tear repair is one common type of hip surgery that may improve these symptoms.

Schedule With a Houston Orthopedic Doctor

For more information about managing “snapping” or “popping” hips, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546 to find a Houston orthopedic physician near you. Online scheduling is also available.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.