Many dancers experience “popping” sensations in their hips. Although it is very common and sometimes even referred to as “dancer’s hip,” it’s not necessarily “normal” or something to be ignored.
Causes of Snapping Hip:
Snapping hip is often due to weakness or tightness in hip musculature, fatigue or inflammation of involved structures, or repetitive use of improper biomechanics with dance technique.
Different Spots Where the Snapping/Popping May Occur:
Side of the hip: This is often due to the IT-band or muscle tendons on the side of the hip rubbing over the side of the thigh bone. This can also impact the bursa on the side of the hip causing it to become inflamed and painful. The popping may be felt when weight is pushed to the side of the hip. Many dancers believe this is their hip dislocating which is untrue.
Front of the hip: This is often due to the iliopsoas (hip flexor) muscle rubbing over the bones of the pelvis or thigh. The popping may be felt when lifting and/or lowering the leg to the front and to the side.
Inside the hip: This may be due to the boney arrangement of the hip or tears of the cartilage within the hip joint (labrum). The popping may be felt with all movements especially turnout and jumps.
What to do:
If the popping is painless, it is still worth checking technique to help decrease the occurrence of the popping because, often, painless popping can eventually lead to painful popping or other issues.
If the popping is painful, involves swelling, or is accompanied by decreased strength, it is worth seeking out medical attention.
At Elite, a physical therapist experienced in working with dancers would evaluate any weaknesses or tightness as well as assess technique in order to decrease pain, return full function, and decrease the chance of it reoccurring. Check out all of our Dance Elite services!