Snapping hip syndrome (commonly known as Dancer’s Hip) is a condition in which you hear or feel a snapping sensation while extending or flexing (lowering and raising) the hip. This can lead to discomfort when running, walking, or getting up off a chair. In some cases, no pain is felt and the condition goes away.
Causes of Snapping Hip Syndrome
The snapping comes from the movement of a muscle or tendon over a part of the hip. The cause of the syndrome is determined by the location in which the snapping occurs. There are three main types of – Internal, External, or Intra-Articular.
If the condition is internal, the culprit is the Iliopsoas. The iliopsoas, a combination of the psoas major and illiacus muscles, is the main hip flexor muscle. The iliacus and psoas major are internal hip muscles that starts at the top of your pelvis(iliacus) and lumbar spine(psoas) and meet at the iliopsoas tendon to attach to the top of the femur(leg bone).
It is possible for the iliopsoas tendon to become inflamed and develop tendonitis. Wherever there is a joint, there are bursa surrounding it that can also become inflamed. If either iliopsoas tendonitis or iliopsoas bursitis occur, Snapping Hip Syndrome can as well.
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The most common cause of Snapping Hip Syndrome, has to do with the Iliotibial (IT) Band. The IT band is a thick band of fibers that runs on the outside of your hip from the top of the pelvis down to the tibia (shin). On the top by your pelvis two muscles attach to the IT Band. The main job of the IT band is to coordinate these two muscle groups and provide extra stabilization for the knee. It is possible for the IT band to become inflamed, because of the bursa around the knee or other reasons, and to develop a condition known as IT Band Syndrome. IT Band Syndrome can cause snapping of the IT Band over the top of the femur (leg bone) which leads to Snapping Hip Syndrome.
The pelvis and the femur meet at the hip joint. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, the pelvis has a round depression which the ball shaped top of the femur fits right into. Circling the round depression on the pelvis is a ring of cartilage called the labrum which helps seal the femur in. It is possible for the labrum to tear (Labral Tear) and to feel a snapping sensation when moving the hip.