Snapping or Squeaking Hip Specialist

Does your hip snap, crunch, pop or even squeak if you run, climb stairs or rise from a sitting position? If so, you may have snapping hip syndrome or squeaky hip. These conditions can be caused by overuse, especially if you participate in certain types of sports like dancing. Snapping or squeaking hip specialist, Doctor Prem Ramkumar is located in Long Beach and serves patients in Los Angeles, Orange County, and surrounding Southern California areas who are experiencing snapping or squeaking hip. Contact Dr. Ramkumar’s office today!

What is a snapping or squeaking hip?

Snapping hip syndrome is a bothersome and sometimes painful condition of the hip that can prevent patients, particularly athletes, from performing their activities. A snapping or squeaking hip is when one of two structures just outside the hip joint, the iliopsoas tendon or the iliotibial band, ‘snap’ or ‘pop’ with particular movements. This could be from many different hip joint problems, but this is commonly due to one of these two tendons catching on a bony prominence and “snapping” when the hip is moved. There are three different types of snapping hip:

  1. External: Associated with the iliotibial band, the tendon running along the outside of the hip joint and outer thigh area.
  2. Internal: Associated with the iliopsoas tendon that connects two inner hip muscles to the femur (thigh bone).
  3. Cartilage injury: Develops suddenly and is caused by a fall or other trauma, causing a tear to the labrum – the lining of the hip socket, or loose bodies in the joint.

This condition, while bothersome, is often harmless but can lead to joint damage and pain. Dr. Prem Ramkumar, snapping or squeaking hip specialist, is located in Long Beach and serves patients in Los Angeles, Orange County, and surrounding Southern California areas.



What causes a snapping or squeaking hip?

Individuals who have a hip that pops, clicks, or snaps during particular movements may have snapping hip syndrome, also known as coxa saltans. For those who experience this uncomfortable sensation and an audible click, this can also be called “dancer’s hip.” In some individuals, the snapping hip can be seen as the muscles of the IT band visibly passing over the bony prominence of the greater trochanter with certain movements. Other individuals may just feel or hear a catching in their hip joint when the ilopsoas passes over the bony prominences of the pelvis or femoral head.

A tight muscle or tendon moving over a bony knob of the hip typically causes a snapping hip. The condition, common in young athletes, is a result of overuse, especially during growth spurts. Dancers and those who have strong musculature around the hip joint are prone to snapping or squeaking hips.


What are the symptoms of a snapping or squeaking hip?

Symptoms of a snapping hip vary from person to person and depend on where the popping is coming from. They include:

  • Popping or snapping while running or climbing stairs
  • Popping or snapping along with a sharp, sudden pain at the front of the hip, deep within the groin, or on the outside of the hip
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Swelling in the front, back, or side of the hip.
  • Warmth felt in the hip.


How is a snapping or squeaking hip diagnosed?

Dr. Ramkumar will perform a physical exam and try to reproduce the visual snapping or squeaking sound. In addition, he will ask you what activities cause the pain. X-rays and other diagnostic tools typically don’t show a snapping hip but may be ordered to rule out other conditions.


How is a snapping or squeaking hip treated?

Most people suffering from a snapping hip never seek treatment from a doctor. Those who visit a doctor undergo conservative treatment, and surgery is typically not performed. Treatments at home can include, but are not limited to:

  • Reducing activity level
  • Icing the affected area
  • Use of NSAIDs to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Modifying repetitive movements during sports or exercise
  • Physical Therapy to stretch and strengthen the hip muscles

In rare cases, a snapping hip may not respond to conservative treatment and surgical intervention may be necessary. An open excision of the greater trochanter bursa with lengthening of the IT band may be necessary for a snapping hip. A hip arthroscopy may be necessary for labral repair, removal of loose bodies, or iliopsoas release. As always, Dr. Ramkumar will discuss the best treatment with you.