If you have a hip that audibly pops during exercise, you likely have snapping hip syndrome, which is caused by imbalances in muscle tension that result in tendons snapping over bony protrusions. The most common muscles involved are the tensor fascia lata or gluteus maximus flicking over the trochanter, or neck, of the thigh bone, and the Iliopsoas muscle flicking across the bone at the front of the pelvis. While not imminently harmful, if left untreated over time, snapping hip syndrome can lead to postural problems and back pain. Treatment involves stretching tight muscles and strengthening weaker muscles to restore muscular balance at the hip.
EXERCISING WITH SNAPPING HIP SYNDROME
Identify the cause. An athletic trainer or health professional who specializes in sports medicine will be able to evaluate the cause and severity of your condition, and may prescribe therapy. Since treatment for snapping hip syndrome involves exercise, you will not be totally sedentary during your recovery.
Evaluate your program. Identify which exercises or activities you do regularly that may be promoting an imbalance. Sitting at a desk or driving a vehicle all day long can promote imbalanced muscles at the hip. If you are an athlete, there may be movement patterns inherent to your sport that are causing problems. While you may not be able to eliminate these activities, you can work to offset the damage by stretching and strengthening opposing muscles.
Assess your technique. Ask your coach, trainer or therapist to work with you to evaluate your body mechanics during physical activity. Flaws in your execution of certain movements may be contributing to your condition.
Change your routine. Add stretching and strengthening exercises that target the hip. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends stretching the quadriceps, hamstrings, piriformis and illiotibial band, and strengthening the gluteal and abductor muscles. Changing the type of cardio you do may also help. If you normally bike or row, try switching to an upright exercise that recruits the gluteal muscles to extend the hip, such as walking or running on an incline, using the elliptical trainer or swimming.
Maintain upper-body strength. While your therapist may ask you to temporarily stop your routine and focus on therapeutic exercises, you should be able to safely do upper-body resistance training that does not involve hip action.
TIPS AND WARNINGS
If you are an athlete, the muscular imbalances that caused your hip to pop will return if you don’t take measures to offset them. Once you have finished your rehab program, incorporating some of the strengthening and stretching exercises prescribed by your therapist will help keep snapping hip syndrome from recurring.
If you are under the care of an orthopedic therapist for snapping hip syndrome, consult your therapist before engaging in physical activities that fall outside the scope of your rehab protocol. The physicians at Washington Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine advise that you complete your therapy to the point of full recovery before returning to your sport. Length of treatment varies but usually averages two to six weeks.
Physiotherapy-Treatment: Snapping Hip Syndrome
American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Snapping Hip Syndrome
Washington Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine: Snapping Hip Syndrome
Researched by KATIA C. ROWLANDS – STOTT PILATES INSTRUCTOR & PERSONAL TRAINER – 0825134256