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The Athletic Hip Series: Snapping Hip

By: Maggie Gebhardt PT, DPT, OCS
Adjunct Clinical Professor- Mercer University, Division of Physical Therapy

As odd as it may sound, have you ever heard a strange noise coming from your hip? A rare condition, Snapping Hip can create a sense of alarm, not because of the pain, but because of the loud snapping noise referred to in its name.

 The sound is created by one of two things:

  • The IT Band snapping over the head of the femur.
  • The Iliopsoas Tendon (hip flexor muscle) ineffectively stabilizing the joint, causing it to click as it moves through its range of motion.

Both of these scenarios are not cause for immediate concern, but reflect incorrect biomechanics occurring at the hip. If you tend to have more of a hypermobile body type, then the latter scenario will more than likely be a problem. If you tend to have more generalized core and gluteal weakness, then overuse of the IT Band is more likely to occur. Either way, with some coordinated exercises and re-education of those hip muscles, the condition should cease, and you will be back on your feet…literally!

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