Snapping hip or dancer's hip is a medical condition resulting in a snapping sound whenever the hip is used such as running, walking, jumping or even simply standing up from a sitting position. There are many possible causes for snapping hip and will often cause annoyance to the patient.
Iliopsoas band snapping
There is a thick connective tissue called the iliotibial band located at the outside of the hip. This iliotibial (IT) band passes through the part of the thigh bone that is protruding out called the greater trochanter and standing up from a previously sitting position can cause the IT band to snap, creating a snapping sound.
Iliopsoas tendon snapping
Similar to the above, the IT tendon acts as the primary flexor muscle for the hip passing through the front of the hip joint. During hip flexing motions, the IT tendon can cause a snap, creating the annoying sound that disturbs patients. This is usually harmless, only annoyance.
Cartilage is another possible reason for snapping hips. Due to injury or various reasons, the cartilage can be injured and result in a loose flap. During hip motions, this loose flap can hit against the hip, causing a snapping sound that is rather faint. Since this is due to injury, patients may experience instability in their hips and will require stability aids.
Physical therapy can help to strengthen the soft tissues around the hips to better support it. Most of the exercises can be performed at home or your office and will not take up much of your time.
Iliotibial band stretching
This exercise requires the presence of a wall for support. Cross your right leg over the left and lean your hip towards the wall. You will be able to feel a stretch at the hip region and hold for 20 seconds. Change the leg and repeat the step. Repeat the exercise for 3 sets of 15.
Lie down on your back and bend your knees slightly while keeping your feet flat on the ground. Cross the leg of the side of the injured hip and hold your hands behind your thigh. Pull the injured hip towards you and you will be able to feel a stretch. Hold in the position for 15 seconds and repeat for 3 sets of 15.
This exercise also requires the presence of a wall. Place your hand on the wall for support. Reach for the ankle of the injured hip and pull it towards you while standing in an upright position. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets of 15.
If the cause of your snapping hips is not due to injuries, it does not affect you much except annoyance. If they are due to injuries, you will need to administer medical treatments. Try doing physical therapy exercises initially and if it fails, you may need corticosteroid injections or even surgical treatments such as hip arthroscopy.