While snapping hip syndrome, also known as coxa saltans or dancer’s hip, is most often a benign issue, but it causes pain, inflammation, and puts the hip at a higher risk of injury in the future. After receiving a proper diagnosis of snapping hip syndrome, exercises can be incorporated into your recovery plan to address local tension and muscle imbalances that are causing or aggravating your hip symptoms. Keep scrolling for our list of physical therapist-recommended exercises.
Designed to restore flexibility to tight tendons that are causing the snapping sensation, these exercises engage proper hip and core strength, plus help keep the pelvis and hip in balance; without unnecessary friction.
While all these exercises are great for any type of hip pain, there are three types of snapping hip syndrome ( Learn More Here). For each exercise, we will identify which type is being addressed when relevant.
Ideal for external snapping hip syndrome
This exercise will provide great relief for any tension you are feeling in the side of your hip near the greater trochanter. The iliotibial band (ITB) is a tough but sensitive band of tissue that runs along the side of the thigh and can be responsible for snapping hip syndrome, so always start gently.
Alternatively, you can do this stretch in standing with the affected hip crossed behind the other leg. Simply side-bend the entire body away from the affected hip until a stretch is felt.
Ideal for internal snapping hip syndrome
The hip flexors, the muscles on the front of the thigh, are notoriously tight with any type of hip dysfunction. This stretch specifically addresses tension in the quads and iliopsoas tendons. This stretch can give you quick relief from hip pain in addition to reducing any knee and lower back pain.
Ideal for external snapping hip syndrome and general hip pain
The piriformis, a muscle deep in the butt, is a particular problem muscle that can cause excessive hip tightness and throw off lower body mechanics. Do not force this stretch if it is painful, as it can be a sign of bigger issues in the articular area of the hip joint itself.
The hamstrings connect directly into the bottom of the pelvis. Thus, loss of flexibility can affect the function of the hip flexors (the muscles that work in opposition to the hamstrings) and overall pelvic balance. A daily hamstring stretch is almost always beneficial.
Now it’s time for some strengthening exercises. When it comes to snapping hip syndrome, the primary focus for strength should be on the glutes and core. The bridge is a perfect exercise for addressing both of these areas, plus it even gently stretches the hip flexors each time you lift your butt off the ground. Start slowly and adjust your range to prevent aggravation of your symptoms.
This exercise is great for addressing the small glute muscles, like the gluteus medius, that is often weak and throwing your hip mechanics out of balance. This exercise can seem simple but can quickly lead to some serious muscle burn when done correctly.
Core strengthening of any type is always a great idea for hip pain. It provides better support to the low back, pelvis, and hips themselves, allowing everything to work in sync. Here is just one example of a core exercise you can try. You may need to modify your range of motion with this one if it causes a snapping sensation.
There are a few primary issues that can lead to aggravation of snapping hip syndrome. Thankfully, the exercises above are a great place to start to combat this. Additionally, you should pair your home exercise program with other conservative treatment options such as foam rolling, heat, ice, and more.
The most common hip aggravators include the following:
You now have a great place to start with exercises for your hip to address both flexibility and strength. If you aren’t experiencing relief, there are a lot of factors that can play a role in this and it’s time to find a physical therapist. Physical therapy can help you understand the true underlying cause of your snapping hip and give you a personalized program that works.
If you experience a sudden change in symptoms or notice they are affecting your quality of life, make sure to get in touch with your physical therapist or orthopedic doctor as soon as possible for further medical advice from your healthcare provider.Sources: Hip Pain Products