This blog was written by Dr. Miranda Wall. As a yoga and barre teacher, Dr. Wall has seen and treated many patients with hip pain from snapping hip syndrome. Learn more about this condition and how to relieve pain associated with snapping hip syndrome.
If you notice your hips popping or snapping when you move a certain way, don’t be alarmed. There are many possible reasons why you might feel a click or snap in your hip during movements. Hip snapping is a common occurrence, especially in physically active people.
However, chronic hip snapping followed by pain is often a telltale sign of a condition called “snapping hip syndrome.” Although this condition can occur in anyone, it’s especially prevalent in dancers, gymnasts, and other athletes that rely heavily on hip mobility and strength.
What is Snapping Hip Syndrome?
Snapping hip syndrome can occur either internally or externally. External snapping hip syndrome is felt on the outside of the hip and is most commonly caused by a tight iliotibial (IT) band rolling over the femur and making a “snapping” noise during hip movement. Athletes in high-mobility sports, like soccer, gymnastics, and running are more likely to develop snapping hip syndrome.
Internal snapping hip is felt in the front part of the hip. It’s most commonly caused by the iliopsoas tendon rolling over the hip bones during flexion and external rotation. Tightness in your quads can also cause internal snapping hip symptoms. This condition is prevalent in ballet dancers because they need to repeatedly lift and rotate their legs in specific technical movements. Some ballet moves, like the grand battements and developpes, require strong and flexible hips to perform in continuous sequences. Dancer’s hip can make these movements uncomfortable and sometimes painful, which could hinder your training.
Building up your hip flexibility and strength can reduce your chances of getting a hip injury like snapping hip syndrome.
How to Prevent and Relieve Snapping Hips
Snapping hip syndrome is often considered just a nuisance, but if left untreated the symptoms may get worse and lead to early-onset joint degeneration. The good news is that conservative treatment can successfully alleviate snapping hips. Stretching the iliopsoas and quadriceps while strengthening the core and hip muscles can successfully mitigate pain. Below are a few other ways you can keep dancer’s hip from breaking your stride.
Wear Proper Shoes
One effective way to avoid tight, weak hips is to wear proper shoes that give appropriate arch support. Since ballet slippers and other dance shoes offer little to no support, it’s important for ballerinas and dancers to wear appropriate footwear off stage. Shoes should be comfortable and provide appropriate arch support.
Before practicing any sports or activities, including dancing, remember to warm up properly! The goal of warming up is to stretch and loosen your muscles, get your heart pumping, and prepare your body for any exercises it’s about to perform. Take a few minutes to get your body warmed up before a workout to reduce your risk of developing snapping hip syndrome while keeping your body flexible.
Hydration is a key player in overall health and wellness. Specifically, proper hydration keeps your joints lubricated which can help increase the range of motion in your hips. Additionally, water moves essential nutrients throughout the body to improve muscle performance, allowing you to build hip strength and stability.
Stretch It Out
Stretching your legs and hips after a workout can help relieve any lingering areas of tightness or pain. Check out the video below for some useful hip and leg stretches you can try at home.
Strengthen Your Hips
Stronger muscles make a stronger body. Strengthening your core and hips can reduce your risk of developing dancer’s hip. Below are some simple exercises to help you target those specific muscle groups.
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor. Stop the exercise immediately if you experience any pain, tingling, or difficulties performing this exercise*
- Lie on your side with your legs bent at 90 degrees and knees stacked on top of each other. Your thighs should be about 45 degrees away from your body.
- Open your legs slowly, like a clamshell, while keeping your hips still.
- Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
- Start by lying on the mat facing up.
- Bend your knees and place your feet firmly on the ground.
- Make sure your feet are in line with your knees.
- Activate your glutes by slowly pushing your hip upwards.
- Lower yourself back down.
- Complete 5 sets of 5 repetitions.
A Fast Fix for Snapping Hips
Hip snapping syndrome can hinder your quality of life and make it hard to enjoy your favorite activities. If you’ve been having issues with hip or leg pain, schedule an appointment with Airrosti today. Our providers can pinpoint the source of your pain and use our targeted treatment plan to eliminate the pain quickly and get you back to doing the activities you love.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.