27 Nov What is Dancer’s Hip?
Snapping Hip Syndrome (SHS) or “dancer’s hip”, like the name suggests, is a condition where you will feel a snapping sensation or hear a popping sound in your hip when doing simple tasks such as walking, sitting down, standing up or swinging your leg around. This condition is caused by the tightness of the muscles and tendons surrounding the hip, due to the repeated bending movement of the hip.
Although the syndrome is harmless and painless, it is rather annoying. And in severe cases it can cause tendinopathy, hip arthritis or bursitis to the hip (the hip joint will become painful, as the fluid-filled sac cushions in the hip joint, which help muscle movement, start to swell). Anyone, at any age or fitness level, can develop this condition but it is most commonly swimmers and ballet dancers that are affected.
The hip joint is formed like a ball and socket, where the rounded end of the femur fits into the cup-shaped socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis, which is encompassed by strong cartilage fibres called the labrum. These fibres create a seal for the joint and stabilise the joint. The hip joint is surrounded by ligaments that hold it together. The ligaments are attached to the tendons, which attach to the muscles in the buttocks, thighs and pelvis. These muscles, along with the bursae (cushioning fluid-filled sacs), function together to control hip movement.
SHS can occur in different areas of the hip where the tendons and muscles move over the hip bones.
The outside of the hip is the most common site for snapping hip to occur. The iliotibial band passes over the portion of the thighbone known as the greater trochanter. When the hip is straight, the iliotibial band is behind the trochanter. When you move and the hip bends, the band moves in front of the trochanter. The iliotibial band is always tight, much like a stretched rubber band. Because the trochanter protrudes slightly, the movement of the band across it creates the snap you hear in your hip. Over time, this can lead to bursitis as the bursae become inflamed and swollen.
The rectus femoris tendon can also be a cause of SHS. This tendon runs in front of the thigh to the pelvis. Bending at the hip causes the tendon to shift across the thighbone, and then back to the side of the hip once the hip is straightened. This back-and-forth motion causes the snapping sensation.
Damaged cartilage or labrum can also be a cause of this syndrome. The labrum in the hip socket can tear and float into the joint causing the hip to “catch” or “lock”. Although this is not caused by the joint’s muscles surrounding the symptoms are similar and may result in more pain being experienced in the groin, than is typical for SHS.
At OsteoVision, we are able to treat a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions. Our team of specialists are always available to assist you and offer advice. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your symptoms, have any questions, would like to book an appointment or if you require more information about your condition.
Bradley, C., 2021. Snapping Hip Syndrome. [online] bodytonic clinic. Available at: Snapping Hip Syndrome [Accessed 26 October 2021].
Darwin Osteopathy. 2021. Snapping hip — Darwin Osteopathy. [online] Available at: Darwin Osteopathy [Accessed 26 October 2021].
Orthoinfo.aaos.org. 2021. Snapping Hip – OrthoInfo – AAOS. [online] Available at: Snapping Hip[Accessed 26 October 2021].