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How do I Treat a Snapping Hip?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Clicking or snapping hip can often be managed at home with a few basic treatments. In fact, sometimes no treatment at all is required, as the condition may resolve itself or remain low level so it will not interfere with a patient's activity level or quality of life. However, there are cases in which snapping hip can become a more serious problem, and it's important to be alert to the signs of complications so that a doctor can be consulted if a problem emerges.

Snapping hip occurs because one of the tendons in the hip gets moved over one of the hip bones when the hip is moved, creating a snapping sensation and sometimes an accompanying popping noise. This condition is more common in athletes and dancers, who may notice it more before they have stretched, or when they are first getting up in the morning and their muscles and tendons are still stiff.

As long as a snapping hip is not causing pain or discomfort, no treatment may be needed. In other cases, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce inflammation associated with the problem, as can icing the hip, using stretches to condition the hip, and possibly making small modifications to activity levels. Taking weight off the hip in warmups, for example, can help reduce the snapping and popping, and using different types of exercise to stay fit can also be helpful.

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If the condition becomes painful, steroids may be prescribed to address the inflammation. The concern is that snapping hip could lead to hip bursitis, an inflammation of the sheath which protects the tendons which can cause stiffness and pain. Surgery may also be used in extreme cases to correct the problem. A doctor may also recommend an imaging study like an MRI to check for signs of abnormal bone formations or cartilage tears to see if these issues are responsible for the snapping hip.

Patients who see a doctor for a snapping hip may find that the doctor tells them the condition is not a cause for concern. It's important to inform the doctor about when and how the snapping happens, and whether or not pain is experienced. Pain is a sign that something is wrong and it is important to receive treatment. Painless snapping which does not appear to be getting worse, on the other hand, may simply be something which a patient can come to live with.

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