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How to Cure Snapping Hip Syndrome

by 92 comments

I’m going to preface this post by saying that I don’t quite know what the hell I’m talking about. Of course, I have a semblance of knowledge, but most of this is hypothetical on my part.

But because of my tricking days, I’ve developed a rash of noises—pops, clicks, and snaps—that emanate from my hip. In fact, back when my two friends and I did trick, each of us would have our own signature sounding hip noises. You could tell who was warming up based solely on the depth and uniqueness of them.

The official name for this concerto is snapping hip syndrome, and it is common among tricksters and other athletes that expect their hip to have the range of motion of their shoulder. Luckily, it’s not usually painful.

The general consensus—or Wikipedia explanation—is that snapping hip syndrome is caused by a thickening of the hip tendons, which then makes it easier for them to catch on the hip’s structures. But I think there might be more to it.

And if you’re wondering why I’m throwing these ideas around, it’s because I’m not a huge fan of traditional “just accept how it is” treatment. Common protocols for snapping hip never work. They are ridiculous, actually. How can you tell a gymnast that they need to “stretch” to fix snapping hip?

Usually, people that have it are some of the most flexible athletes in the world in dancers, gymnasts, and martial artists.

Before I spill my ideas, I first have to give a bit of credit to Kelly Baggett and the Mobility WOD. The general idea of this theory was inspired by Kelly Starr and how he harps on getting the hip to sit in its capsule better, but I also borrowed some concepts from Kelly Baggett.

So, with that, as you might have guessed, my theory revolves around getting the hip to sit in its capsule better. Repeated kicking motions, or so I theorize, constantly pull the head of the femur out of its socket. As we already know, tricksters have stronger, more enlarged, hip muscles and, when combined with a femur that doesn’t sit in its socket too well, it makes it more likely to have the tendons and whatnot catch on other structures.

Now, every case of snapping hip is different, so this is shotgun rehab. Nevertheless, here it goes:

Common rehabilitation strategies look directly at the problem. Usually the rectus femoris and IT band are the two tendons that catch on the bones of the pelvis. Therefore, it’s easy to think that they are the cause. But we can’t always zero in on the problem area; we have to consider all of the structures that cross the hip joint.

There are two muscles that often go unnoticed—the psoas major and the iliacus. They originate on the spine and pelvis and insert on the inner thigh.

Since they cross the hip joint, they have some responsibility in holding the hip in its socket (unlike most other muscles on the inside of the leg). The adductor mass doesn’t cross the hip, meaning they don’t play an as important role in hip integrity.

We also know that the deep hip flexors—according to Kelly Baggett—are usually weak in most athletes simply because they rarely do activities in which the knee is flexed above the 90 degree plane.

And while martial artists often kick much higher than that, it’s usually with the help of the body’s momentum. This is the difference between dynamic flexibility and static active flexibility. This means that it’s possible that the deep hip flexors lack the slow strength and fine motor control needed at the hip—specifically holding the femur in the socket.

So we have a few issues that are building up after just looking at the problem from an anatomical standpoint. We can attack these issues separately, but that wouldn’t get us too far because the problem is occurring in the complex kicking movement patterns. So not only do we have to treat each problem individually, but we have to think about how it can be incorporated into our kicking drills.

1) Suck your hip

I don’t know the fancy term for this exercise, but I call them hip sucks simply because to perform it you think about sucking your hip into its socket. Even though we’re mainly activating our midsection on these, we’re subliminally activating the psoas and iliacus which is tugging on the femur, encouraging it back into its socket.

(first exercises shown)

Now, when it comes to tricksters, you have to remember that my whole theory is based on doing tons of kicks with no regard for keeping the hip tight. So what I’m proposing is that all of your leg lifts and kicks need to be done with this “hip suck” implemented in order to activate the psoas and iliacus to keep the hip in its socket, but we’ll go into that a bit later.

2) Take care of the deep hip flexors

There’s a crowd out there that uses the following progression: pattern, grind, ballistic. What this means is that you have to develop endurance in a motor pattern before you can get strong in that motor patter. And once you’re strong in the motor pattern it can then be held during explosive movements.

As far as tricksters are concerned, there’s no shortage of ballistic action, but there’s definitely a shortage of pattern and grind, or, what I like to think of as slow strength. Therefore, we need to develop the slow control at the hip to get the deep hip more involved.

For this, I recommend a drill that is both explained and demonstrated by Kelly Baggett.

“A lot of people won’t be able to lift their knee an inch without squirming around all over the place. You should be able to come up several inches. The further you lean forward the harder the exercise is. I’d say if you lean forward about 45 degrees and can’t get your foot off the ground at all you could probably use some work.

I recommend doing a couple of sets of 8-10 with a 2-3 second hold at top on that exercise 2-3 x per week.”

The purpose of this exercise is to encourage the hip to be the dominant controller of the leg. This means that anytime we kick, we want our hip to drive the movement, which will create less outward tug on the femur.

3) Prevent external rotation, and the inside of the hip from collapsing

This is especially a concern for those that have lived in the front splits their entire lives. Although this demands flexibility, the rotation of the rear leg and the relaxation is the mechanism for our injury we’re trying to avoid.

4) Deal with soft tissue and resetting the hip

I harp on external rotation of the hip being a problem. Unlike other athletes, tricksters have well developed hip external rotators from side kicking, hook kicking, and outside crescent kicking. This mean the piriformis and the other external rotators are strong enough, and potentially tight enough, to be the reason that the front of our hip—psoas and iliacus—has trouble dealing with the external rotation.

Therefore, stealing from the Mobility WOD, here are some videos that pertain to stretching the external rotators and resetting the hip.

5) Stretch the hip flexors right

Just like in tip #3, most people are used to stretching the hip flexors with front split intentions meaning that their rear leg is externally rotated. But we need to avoid that, so here are two solutions to be used during any lunge stretch.

First, internally rotate the rear leg. Second, push the hip to the outside. I dare say that both can be done, but they can. You’ll notice that you feel this stretch much more on the lateral hip and quadriceps, possibly even creeping into your psoas and iliacus.

And the combination hip flexor and quadriceps stretch can be seen at the end of this article of mine on T-Nation. Remember to internally rotate the rear leg and push the hips to the outside.

6) Incorporation of the tips into front-based kicks

7) Incorporation of the tips into side-based kicks

I know all of these tips may actually reduce your performance in some capacity. By not externally rotating your rear leg, you won’t be as flexible as you could be. You might not be able to hit the splits. You might not be able to kick as high.

At some point, however, for a trickster, you have to assess how valuable these things are. Tricking isn’t martial arts so both the splits and incredibly high kicks to the point of form breakdown aren’t absolutely necessary.

If you are a competitive martial arts athlete or gymnast, however, perhaps you will always have to suffer through snapping hip. Perhaps it’s a rigor of the sport. But for tricksters, you have the power to make your own rules. You aren’t bound by tradition. You aren’t being judged. Give these tips a shot and see how your body responds. What do you have to lose?

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92 comments… add one

  • Awesome article. Quick question: I mess around with parkour and some tumbling moreso than tricking; however, my hip doesn’t pop while doing the movements. My hip just pops randomly while walking. Some days it doesn’t do it, some days it does it constantly. Would you still advise me to follow the advice given here? Or is it a bit different?

    Reply
    • anthony mychal November 5, 2011 1:14 pm

      It’s different, but you can try. Could be a lot of things, but if it becomes more frequent, keep your eye on it.

      Reply
  • Talal (KonEl) November 3, 2011 8:26 pm

    I don’t know if what I had was snapping hip syndrome, but I did have something that sounds quite similar. Band distraction, a la K-Star, during the hip flexor stretch you mentioned pretty much cured it. Thanks for the article and good luck with the new site!

    Reply
  • This article was great! really informative and well explained! Im not sure if its exactly a snapping hip problem that i have but i know that when i externally rotate my leg naturally during hook kicks i tend to get alot of hip pain. Definately going to utilise everything ive seen in this article!

    Reply
  • Best article on your blog and on the argument

    Reply
  • I was wondering if someone could shed some light on a problem I have. When I do side leg raises, I get pain in my hips(not sure if it’s the actual joints or the hip flexors) when I point the toes downwards. It alleviates slightly when I point them parallel to the floor or slightly upward and even Tom Kurz recommends this way during the side split and side kick: http://stadion.com/column_stretch02.html

    However when I do it the way Kurz recommends, I get snapping hip. It seems that I can’t do side stretches at all without some sort of problem.

    Reply
  • I’m befuddled on your terminology. You say that it alleviates with the foot the way Kurz recommends, right?

    Side lifts can be tough on the hips. Try the hip suck method I talk about in the videos. Does that help?

    Reply
  • Terminology as in toes up, down, parallel? The more I point my toes upwards, the less pain I get in the hips. But the clunking in the hips is still there. When I try the hip suck, it helps a lot for front lifts, but not so much for side lifts. I guess I need more practise with that.

    Reply
    • Well the side lift is tricky all around. Can you get me a video? It might just be that your hips have some anatomical restrictions. It happens frequently. Everyone has different bones and the trochanters on the femur could just be getting in the way. Damn the genetics!

      Reply
  • Thank you _so much_ for posting this. Its been immensely helpful. I have had some form of snapping hip for 6 years (former gymnast/ballerina, now climber/hiker/yogi) and its manifested as an obnoxiously loud pop in the inside of the standing hip in any motion that is similar to the sideways kick you trickster/martial arts people do. Plus, lots of really creepy little pops and clicks all around the IS area, such that I’ve developed a nasty habit at my desk (day job) of popping my entire hip joint and lower back by just clenching the left buttock. Yuck! Falling on my tailbone really hard countless times, a torn miniscus, hiking ridiculous miles (mountaineering) and retaining near-contortionist flexbility have all led up to this, and have had me going to chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, even bone and sports doctors. So far, to no avail… although the massages have been nice. Anyhows, I wanted to tell you that simple “hip-suck” (or what I am guessing it is supposed to be) has really fixed most of my problem. I just did 16 really tough mountain miles with hardly any pain or popping at all for the first time in … forever. You’re making me a nicer human being and you rock for posting intel that works for us whacky stretchy athletes, not just the usual advice for normal folks. with snapping hip
    Question foryah: Do you have a super-clear video of the “hip-suck” move or am I missing something? That first one of the guy in the black sweatpants gave me a general idea but I’d really like a more detailed video of that one move.

    Reply
  • I noticed I had this problem with my hips about a year ago and it kept getting more frequent. Now both of my hips click whenever I put my leg down after raising my leg (both bent or straight) and even while doing sit ups. The only time it doesn’t click is when I’m laying on my side and I bend the top leg up towards my chest and back down again. Sometimes they get stuck and I have to rotate my hip around until it “unlocks”. There’s also a dull ache in my right hip that’s developed over the past month. I think I have the right diagnosis but the problem with a lot of the exercises on here is that I am a dancer and most if not all of the leg kicks and other movements require my hips and legs to be externally rotated and the toe needs to lead, not the heal.
    Is there anything you can suggest I can do that will help them stay in place while still being able to dance correctly?

    Reply
    • Ehhh, not so much. Sorry to say, but sometimes sport demands do their damage. Just do these exercises as applicable. I’d also look into a torn labrum if I were you.

      Reply
  • Wow this is great! I have been looking for some exercises for this issue. You explain it better then a physician who has no time to talk to you. I have been suffering with this for years and the only thing that has helped it has been a cortisone shot. And now it’s messing up my back :( I am going to try these exercises.

    Reply
  • Hello, how do you know if your hips (femur heads) are loosened from the sockets or if you are just built that way (bone frame)?

    thank you

    Reply
    • X-Ray.

      Heh.

      But seriously, most looseness is causes from demanding the hip joint to be more mobile than it’d like to be.

      Reply
  • Thanks, Anthony. My greater trochanters stick out, kind of like a bump in an otherwise straight nose but there is very little padding on them (nothing to work on to lose) so I can’t tell if that was just my frame or if my femurs have loosened a bit. Must be just my frame because I don’t really exercise or anything that would put strain on them…

    Reply
    • Well anatomy does come into play sometimes. Perhaps you should ask an orthopedist to check it out. She’d be able to check this for sure.

      Reply
  • Hi Anthony,

    Great article and very applicable to me. I’m a rugby player and had broken a fibula a few times a year back (now fine) which has caused stability issues in my hip joint. The snapping hip hadn’t been much of a problem until I started having groin problems on the same side.
    Having saw a lot of physios, doctors and chiropractors I have finally put two and two together. Snapping hip fits the bill. I read in another article that groin problems often coincide and this is my main concern. It’s preseason here at the minute and I have been training a lot (the groin pain was never enough to have me stop). I have been trying to strengthen up my stabilizers with a lot of glute exercises and a lot of the exercises you have shown. I was wondering if you had ever come across associated groin pain with snapping hip and weather treatment should be any different? I need to get rid of this as it is a nuisance but i don’t want to miss out on any training.

    Thanks,
    John

    Reply
    • Well most cases of snapping hip aren’t all that painful, FYI. Dunno if it’s your hip or groin that’s giving you the pain. But I haven’t noticed any correlations with groin pain and hip problems.

      Reply
      • It’s been groin pain, but not during exercise, only after. I’m currently working on getting my hips back to neutral and to get everything stabilized. Hopefully everything will come good again soon.
        Thanks

        Reply
  • This was a great introduction to a problem I have had following me for years, never been painful until I recently tried doing the mountain climber and my hips couldn’t handle it and the one hip went out of place to the point of pain. I had no techniques till recently and this was a good walk through of some basic workouts to stabilize my hips from going out of place. I will deffinately be using these workouts in the future to get my hip snapping problem worked on. Thank you for your generous website with great tips to a beginner on getting that hip stable. Cheers!

    Reply
  • Hi There ,

    I am now 30 yrs and since 3.5 years I am suffering from snapping hip syndrome/ hip bursitis along with a little pain in SI joint. All on my right side. I am worried about my future, how i will deal with these in future when i will be 45 or 50 or 55. Any inputs will be appreciated.

    However i will be trying these exercises.

    Any idea if hip arthroscopiy or any other surgery can cure this , if the pain becomes unbearable in future days?
    so that i can keep as a plan B to secure my future.

    Reply
    • All I got is right here my man. No idea on the surgery.

      Reply
    • Arvind, As I read your post.. I feel I must tell you… I hope you find the relief you need.. Pain can be a very lonely feeling…I will pray for you & your well being…

      Reply
  • Thanks Anthony for your quick response. I started exercising and i will let you know the progress.
    Any idea if leg length difference will cause snapping hip syndrome ? I can see my right shoe (Pain is also in my right side) is slightly more worn-out than the left one but both legs looks equal . And also my back bone is very slightly curved towards right side.

    Reply
    • Perhaps. But I’m no doctor, so it’s outside of my realm. Are you sure theres a length difference? Most people have uneven wear. (And some curvature in their spine…)

      Reply
  • I measured few times and i realized that my left leg is 1.5 to 2 cms shorter than the right one.And i strongly feel the root cause which resulted in bio mechanical imbalance in my body causing lower back pain, SI joint pain, Snapping hip and hip bursitis.
    I saw some sites and there is an evidance of leg length difference causing snapping hip(in the greater trochanter).

    Reply
    • I’d get someone that knows how to legitimately measure to take a look.

      Reply
      • I am a physical therapy student in school now and we learned about leg length discrepancy. No body is perfectly symmetrical. It is only an issue if the difference is over 2 cm. as far as your SI joint goes, the hop typically refers pain down into this area. If you see a good physical therapist they can help determine the root of your problem very quickly and give you some home exercise techniques to help reduce the pain without surgery. In most states seeing a physical therapist can be done through direct access and you won’t even need a referral from a Physician! Hope this helps.

        Reply
    • I have a 3cm leg length discrepancy (discrepancies can be functional or anatomical – doesn’t really matter) and I make my own insoles by cutting out sheets of cork. I try different heights at first. This is better than buying commercial ones because you have the flexibility to experiment.

      I also recommend the “sacro-wedgy” to you as it balances out twisted hips when you lie on it.

      A doctor can tell very easily from an x-ray if your hip is really not sitting in the socket correctly.

      Reply
  • Thanks so much for this. Years of ballet ( for fun ) has left me with obnoxious hip pops whenever I do any sort lower ab exercise. I will try the hip sucking moves you recommend.

    Reply
  • Awesome…thank u so much

    Reply
  • This is the best article I’ve read on Snapping Hip Syndrome – hands down. It is the only article to address what is happening by really explaining the detailed anatomy of the area. I’ve read so many articles and visited my doctor where I kept thinking ‘This isn’t exactly what’s happening to me.” Your article makes sense with great solutions to try. Thanks!!

    Reply
  • Hi Anthony,

    I do these exercises at my desk 4 days a week, coupled tennis ball hip adduction squeezes. External rotation still sucks (which I hadn’t even noticed was the main issue prior to this article) but after 8 sessions a standing neutral position knee raise feels fine (they would click like crazy before). Solid advice, thanks for the help.

    Reply
  • Eva Wurschmidt June 4, 2013 8:10 pm

    THANK YOU!! I have suffered from hip pain and joint popping since i had y last child 10 years ago. I have tried so many things and have been unable to do alot of different exercises because the pain in my hip is so intense. I did the hip suck you showed here and some of the following techniques and I am walking without any popping or pain. First time in ten years and it only took a few minutes. Seriously thank you so much.

    Reply
  • I am a 17 year-old martial artist and have been dealing with this for a while now. I thought I could just stretch it out, or do more kicking drills to try and strengthen my hip- but obviously all the repetition only made it worse. I am just absolutely devastated to lose my flexibility since it was my most notable ability. I would get so many people coming up to me at tournaments telling me how amazed they were with my kicks. At my black belt testing presentation I broke a board positioned behind me over my shoulder with a straight stretch kick. When I was about twelve I dropped a six-foot, 200lb, twenty year-old to the ground with a round house kick to his head (he was fine, he was wearing a helmet, and was just as excited about what I did as I was :P ).
    I am only mentioning these things to give an idea of my flexibility.
    For a long time I was able to hold a side kick at head level- but it has been getting more and more difficult.

    I did the stretches you recommended up there, and concentrated on lifting my hip (apparently I wasn’t listening enough to my instructor’s constant “lead with the hip” and “your power comes from your hip” lol) and the pain was definitely reduced but I can only kick waist high.

    Okay- sorry for the long message- but I’m scared. I’m seriously about to break down here, which is pathetic- but martial arts is basically my life, not just some hobby. My grandmaster is having me do all these unique kicks (including an untraditional “front kick to the side” which you demonstrated as a big “no-no”) and while I still have more flexibility than an average non-athletic person, it’s not nearly what I need to be a good martial artist with excelling kicks.

    I mean- my grandmaster is talking about training me for the 2020 Olympics. I still have miles to go- especially with this “backset” but I don’t see how it’s going to even be possible now. This has been the past ten years of my life…

    So I guess my point which I’ve taken forever to get to- is there any hope that I’ll achieve my extreme flexibility again?

    Sorry this ended up so long, I’m just really devastated right now.
    Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Nice message, but I have no clue. I’m just a dude that tricks that lived with snapping hip. There were just my thoughts on the matter.

      Reply
      • Sorry, lol it all kind of hit me fast so all that came out. I have an appointment to see a doctor and I’m hoping for PT but we’ll see. Meanwhile I’ve been doing these exercises. Thanks so much for this article :) I’m hoping for the best.

        Reply
    • I came to this article because I am a martial artist and I’ve been trying to resolve my chronic hip tension which interferes with my ability to integrate my body and settle into my center. This is something that developed over a long period of time doing lots of high flying kicks and externally rotated reverse roundhouse kicks, etc, like the poster above mentions in combination with a very stressful period of instability in my life. I’ve since switched to internal martial arts and am in a process of healing and reintegrating my body and am finding this hip tension/clicking/now swelling to be a pretty substantial obstacle. I, too, have found most of the typical suggestions (yoga stretches, etc) to not be very helpful in actually alleviating the tension long term, but I connect with the author’s theory that the real trouble is actually the disconnection of the femur from the socket, since a major aspect of the tension is basically a feeling of disconnection and like the pelvis and legs are just not sitting well with each other causing the whole posture to be out of line.

      Anyway — I came upon some interesting martial arts exercises tonight that in some respects echo the theories in this post, so I thought I would point these to this commenter and the author in case you were interested in trying them out. The teacher actually talks about how to bring the legs into the core, much like the “hip sucking” exercises and this makes a lot of sense to me. I think the tendency when you have tension is to want to stretch out MORE and disconnect more, but what you really need to do is reconnect! I was so excited to find these tonight because it was like, “Finally!” After researching this issue for some months with no real results I feel like I’m starting to tap into resources that might actually be helpful.

      Anyway, since this post reminded me of it, I thought I would share this website. Look into the other sections as well — lots of great information.

      http://www.baguaquanlessons.com/kwahip-joints33007.html

      Reply
  • Do you know anything about “lateral hip distraction”?

    Reply
    • Not professionally, but, yeah.

      Reply
      • A lateral hip distraction involves a grade 5 manipulation to pull the femur out of socket. This can be done by a physical therapist. If you are looking into this you should also look at the contraindications to make sure your body will be safe doing this. It is typically done as a treatment for impingement in the hip of the labrum, nerves, etc. This would probably not be much help if this is a muscular issue.

        Reply
        • Well I don’t think a band hip distraction is going to kill anyone. Snapping hip isn’t muscular in the damaged tissue sense.

          Reply
      • It’s been a while since I asked about the lateral hip distraction but the “PT student” sorta answered some of my question… b/c I had a physical therapist do it to me for no reason (he was showing me on my good side what he was going to do on my other side b/c I told him it sounded like a bad idea since I have a brother who was born with hip dysplasia… However, my PT at the time said “now would be a good time for him to tell me all about his schooling and blah blah blah…. so long story short… he wore me down and I regrettingly let him “show” me the lateral hip distraction on my perfectly good hip… so, I haven’t been right since and couldnt walk on it w/o crutches for a while (off the crutches now, but still not normal feeling) back in July when it happend, I was wondering if my hip could be out of socket…b/c like a week or two after my PT did the lateral hip distraction I heard/felt a pop in my hip… and some snapping but the snapping sound I think has gone away but I don’t know cuz I’m not really checking my ROM or allowing myself to go into full ROM…I also had burning and tingling all the way down to my foot after I felt the pop.. which ya, i read about nerve damage and all that… the burning and tingling did finally go away… im not sure if the pop i heard and felt was my hip going back IN my socket in it’s appropriate place or if it was the sound of my hip going OUT of my socket… and not really knowing much about the technique… I was searching the web for any information or anyone with information that I could get my hands on…My brother just had surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, he had an osteotomy… I’m thinking of trying to set up a consultation with one of the orthopedic surgeons just for some answers… I just don’t think this PT that I had should be doing this technique… and he told me he does the lateral hip distraction on his pregnant wife and he said it would cause me no more damage than walking to the mailbox..??that was definitely not true b/c I was in really bad pain for a long time and now I have discomfort and am afraid to do any type of internal or external rotation or bending beyond like 90 degrees b/c I’m worried I am either still dislocated (or partially dislocated) or that if I’m not now that I will….& all the doctors I’ve been to in my town seem like they are afraid to say anything… like their more worried I’m gonna sue the PT than actually helping me understand what is going on… well I tried to give you the short version… I’m not really sure what info I can get but at this point I’ll take any info I can get :) ))

        Emily

        Reply
  • good article. I get snapping in my right hip i cross my leg over and rest my right foot on my left knee. I did martial arts for years so I assume thats what caused it. Im wondering are there any weighted exercises that would help that I can integrate into my workout? would pistol squats help? thanks

    Reply
  • Dear Anthony Michael!

    I’ve recently found your blog and it’s very helpful and it cleared some cloudy point about SHS. I’m suffering from the same problem nearly half year and my theory has been formed since when it started.
    As you wrote this post with your ideas, please let me share my theory (it’s very similar to yours) and how I started to cure it, but first of all how I got into this state.
    I used to do martial arts (actually, all my childhood was spent with karate) and I’ve never experience anything like SHP during my sport career. Later, that I didn’t have enough time to go any gym to train I chose my own way and decided to improve my flexibility.
    It went well but I did a huge mistake half year ago. I spent lot’s of time in a deep (nearly split) stance, because I needed just a very little to reach the side split. It’s called relax stretching. Also, I did strengthening exercises with high loads before stretching (different types of squat, good morning, etc). I think the main cause was that the high loads weakened my joint and the time that I spent in stretching locked the problem and it was unable to regenerate.
    So one day I came home and I noticed that my rigth leg has got nice and annoying clicking noise at external rotation inside my hip.
    I think the clicking is coming from the groin, when a tendon or muscle fiber goes (“slide”) over the bone of the hip. You can read it on every page that deal with SHs, but their treatment usually useless because the real cause isn’t the thickened hip tendons or muscle in this case.
    I my oppinion my femur got out it’s socket (as you wrote it), but the main problem that the joint capsule lengthened as well (http://www.healthbase.com/resources/images/Birmingham_Hip_Resurfacing/healthbase_hip_joint_ncp_neck_capsule_preservation_hip_resurfacing.jpg). So, it’s in the right place actually, but because of the elongation the bone of the hip is bulged (I hope it’s the rigth word).
    I did an experiment. I compared my legs whether the rigth or the left is longer and I did it after my workout again (throw lots of kick, side and front as well). There wasn’t any difference, but later my hip started to click as usually.
    After training the muscles are usually shortened, especially when you use their full range of motion. Shortened, stiff muscle can catch the bone easier, that’s my basic theory.
    I found an article, that cover this topic: http://www.oliverfinlay.com/assets/pdf/hip%20athletic%20injuries%20%26%20capsular%20laxity%20phillipon%20article.pdf
    But it ends up surgery, so I immediately dropped the idea.
    I think most of us who suffer from SHS are in age when the body is able to cure itself.
    The basic idea is that you have to regain the original capsule length, strength and elasticity (if we can talk about elasticity in this case). I didn’t know where to start, but first I eliminated all the movement that can trigger snapping or lengthen the joint capsule. Walking, running (jogging) don’t seem to be a matter, but if you turn any direction when you have to rotate your leg externally at a large angle, avoid it. Swimming is a good way to regenerate, especially breastroke. I know it’s a bit strange but in water gravity affects the joints differently. There is a video for leg movement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMKo-qzVKsg
    Since I’ve been going swimming 3 times a week I don’t have any symptom and I have to rotate 3 or 4 times my leg externally in a special way to achieve snapping.
    When your muscle is out of control your joints will bear the load, so avoid sitting, standing, leaning in unnatural position. Avoid relax stretch (at least while your joints regenerating).

    That’s all I’ve got so far, I hope it helps and I’m going to try your drills as well. I’m sorry for my english I hope it’s understandable enough.

    Best regards
    Matthew

    Reply
  • I really enjoyed your article Anthony. Although I don’t have a problem with my hip popping, your article was very informative.thank you for taking your time to research and explain. I have learned more about my hip in the process.

    Reply
  • I did martial arts for about a year and have over 15 years of skateboarding (on and off) behind me. I have snapping/popping hip syndrome, which is obviously more present when I skate every day. I’ve found the only thing that works is when I accidentally pop it back in. Those are the days I skate really well. Every other time, I just have trouble with flip tricks because I’m not lifting my knees as high as I could, so I sort of get “tangled” up.

    Anyway, these accidental fixes usually happen when I’m in an awkward position, reaching or bending for something. I try to duplicate the movement sometimes, but it’s hard to get right. It definitely involves pulling my upper body away from my leg, not pulling or stretching my leg. I don’t know how else to explain it. It happens when I twist and reach in a certain way.

    Good luck. I hope we all don’t end up with canes,

    Reply
    • Snapping hip won’t involve “popping it back in.” It honestly sounds like you have some kind of labrum problem.

      Reply
  • My joints make a pop when i lie down qnd try to bring either leg or both up vertically to work my abs. Last week i noticed a pain…like a bruise between the hip joint and pelvis and there was this ball in there that was sore… Only sore that one time and the popping never happens when walking… Though on leg is much less flexible than the other when i rest the ankle on the knee to stretch the leg…wny ideas? Should i worry? I cant to wb exercises where i lift my legs up without them popping usually unless i get my legs spread at a particular width… And even then i still have them pop often

    Reply
    • Leg lifting and popping is normal during ab exercises. It’s likely from incorrect form and locking down the abs rather than any kind of dysfunction.

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  • Could pigeon pose in yoga be the culprit for hip clicking/pain? I was trying to open my hips to be better at sumo deadlifts and now I’m in pain on my left hip. Also, squats give me lower back pain, again, in the left side so those are a big no-no, unless I do them bodyweight.

    Reply
    • I doubt it’s 100% that pose. Snapping hip more so a long term thing with those that rotate their hip a lot.

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    • Charity Dominic January 29, 2014 7:38 pm

      Following up here. I’ve been using the “hip suck” for quite some time and it has really helped. But I still have Snapping hip. Lots more research happened. Lots more doctors. Lots more massage therapy. I’m now passing on what I’ve found:

      **Make sure its not something else nearby**
      ‘Turns out I have three things going on that are so close to the SI joint that inflammation was just running rampant in the whole area, and I continue to fight it now but with more intelligence. First, I found out I have an often overlooked little disorder called “Adrenal Fatigue”: too much coffee causes lower back pain. http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/is-caffeine-causing-your-back-pain/ Ugh. Now I take supplements for the adrenal and eschew caffeine.
      Second, thanks to a yoga teacher’s warnings about the pigeon pose and other hip openers, I found (probably worsened by the Adrenal Fatigue), I also have a frayed labrum (not bad enough to count as hip impingement or need surgery, but still, inflammation central).
      Third, turns out I have a herniated L3. Add about 600 mg of ibuprofen/naproxin before walking long distances. Fight fight fight that inflammation.

      Doc says the hip snapping is just a side effect of all these sources of inflammation in that area, and confirmed I don’t have FAI (femoral acetabular impingement). And like many here, I’ve found PT to be an absolute crock. ‘Think its for people who don’t exercise or something.

      Now add the hip suck. And take it easy on those hip openers in yoga. Its working. That’s what I’ve got folks. I still pop all the time. But at least I am not in constant pain. Good luck.

      Reply
      • I’d venture to guess the labrum is your true problem. People with torn labrums get the nastiest hip pop noise.

        Good post though, as it shows that lots of things can contribute. Thanks a bunch for this.

        Reply
  • Dude
    You are a fucking legend genius the Chiro Physio world must be shaking in their boots you should become a doctor dude

    Reply
  • Fantastic advise! Thanks so much for taking the time to post this.

    Reply
  • Just curious. Did your hip snapping syndrome go away doing the exercises? I was recently diagnosed with this syndrome and hoping for it to go away.

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  • How often did you do the exercises throughout the week?

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  • Really appreciate this! I have had snapping hip for about 8 yrs and just recently found that this was the problem. In the video you mention the issue causing a torn labrum. If I have sharp stretching pain on the labrum, is it likely that it is already torn or will it be a more significant pain that will prevent me from walking?

    Reply
    • Labrum tears usually respond with a DEEP pop when the leg is pulled from the socket. Athletes can function with them, but it will usually come back to haunt you unless its repaired.

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  • Thank You!!
    Great read, had this problem for a while, soccer player, runner, heavy bag kicker, mtn biker, swimmer…. Just lived with it and figured it was wear and tear until recently doing leg lifts and was like wtf! What is this click? So I found your post plan to do the exercises and work with it…I don’t plan on stopping my sports…

    Reply
  • Great article! Still a little confused about the hip suck. I’ve seen this mentioned in a few various places on the Internet, and each place gives a short explanation explaining to suck the hip in, but that’s about it. I can’t tell if I’m doing it right, or if I’m just moving my pelvis around on the floor, squirming.

    I think it’s connected with this odd rotation thing that goes on whenever I try to get into a half-kneeling position with my right leg being the forward one. Whenever I try to get into a half-kneeling position for a lunge or stretch like the one in this article, and my right leg is the forward or “up” leg, my pelvis or seems to twist with the right leg, and I can’t seem to feel out what it’s doing. I try really hard to make it mimic the left, which seems normal, but my motor control is apparently so lacking that I can’t consistently change it.

    The best way I can describe it is that if I were getting into this position in jeans, when the right leg is forward, the outseam of the pants on that side seems to come in towards the front of my leg more than the left outseam does when the left outseam is forward. It’s hard to tell if the right hip is hiking, the femur is rotating, or the pelvis and/or lumbar spine is rotating… or some combination of the three.

    I also have a lot of trouble activating my right glute, and I can’t consistently get a good contraction out of it, which essentially eliminates the effectiveness of even the most basic of exercises. I know it’s all connected, because every once in awhile when my brain clicks, it feels right… like the kinetic chain is working as it should.

    Reply
    • Hmm, it’s hard without a video. If you’ve ever seen Conan (red hair comedian dude), he does this puppet doll thing where he acts like he’s pulling his hip bones up by a string. That’s essentially what it is. It’s more so a function of the midsection rather than the hip itself.

      Reply
  • Thank you for your tips. I have been jump roping for exercise for a long time now and on occasion my hip would snap. I do stretch but I definitely have neglected my hips. Now all I hear is my right hip snapping throughout the day. In your opinion should I give up the jump roping? Do you have any suggestions on cardio exercises when having a snapping hip? Thanks for your help.

    -Megan

    Reply
    • No, I don’t I don’t think rope jumping would cause snapping hip. Make sure you have snapping hip and not something else.

      Reply
  • Thank you for explaining all this Anthony. It would be great if you had a real time work out video specifically for this problem. Have the reps set for maximum and people do less if just starting. It would help me to remember all the moves and motivate me as I do not really work out but I was clearly doing what little that I was doing, incorrectly. I am so glad that I saw your video.

    Reply

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