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  • Writer's pictureCrucial Rehab Team

Snapping Hip

Are you experiencing a hip which pops, clicks or snaps during particular movements? If so, you may have snapping hip syndrome.

What causes the click in your hip?

It encompasses three main causes, extra-articular (either external or internal) or intra-articular.

1. External snapping hip

External snapping hip occurs when either thickened portions of the rear Iliotibial band (ITB) or front aspect of the gluteus maximus tendon snaps over the greater trochanter causing the catching or “giving way” sensation and inflammation of the associated tissue eliciting pain.

However, it is not always associated with pain, and some athletes who have a popping sensation may still be able to compete in their sport. If persistent pain and weakness occurs with the hip snapping, it is advisable to seek treatment in order to return to peak performance level.

2. Internal snapping hip

Internal snapping hip occurs when the iliopsoas tendon snaps over a protrusion of the pelvic bone called the iliopectineal eminence. With bending of the hip, the iliopsoas tendon lies sideways to the center of the femoral head.

3. Intra-articular snapping hip

Intra-articular snapping hip is caused by the iliofemoral ligaments as they slide over the head of the femur, a labral tear, chondral defect or intra-articular loose bodies. Pain is reproduced during specific movements of the hip, but most frequently when the hip moves from a position of flexion-abduction-external rotation to the neutral position or external rotation/abduction to internal rotation/adduction.

(a) Labral tear: Injury to the cartilage that forms the tough, flexible ring around the hip socket which holds the ball of the femur (thigh bone) within the joint.

(b) Loose bodies: Can be fragmented tissue or bone that breaks away from its correct position and can be caused by trauma. These fragments or pieces of tissue can get caught in the hip and ball socket of the hip, causing catching or a snapping sensation.

Stretching exercises for clicking hip

1. Glutes muscle stretching

- Lie on your back with your legs extended and your back straight down on the ground.

- Place your right arm out to the side.

- Bend your right knee towards your chest, grabbing it with your left hand.

- Feel the pulling sensation on your right hip.

- Hold it for 15 seconds, repeat it for at least 5 times.

- Repeat the same movement for the opposite side.

2. Hip flexor (iliopsoas) muscle stretching

- Start with the kneeling on the ground.

- Place left foot out in front with the knee at 90˚.

- Ensure that your hips stay aligned with shoulders facing forward.

- Slowly lean onto the front leg allowing the back leg to extend as the picture above.

- Feel a stretch on right front thigh around the hip joint.

- Hold it for 15 seconds, repeat it for at least 5 times.

- Repeat the same movement for the opposite side.

Watch our video for demonstration!


1. Yi-Meng Yen, Cara L. Lewis, and Young-Jo Kim. 2015. Understanding and Treating the Snapping Hip. Sports Med Arthrosc 23(4): 194–199.

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