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A snap, pop, or grating sound in the hip may be caused by many things, such as an injury or other normal wear-and-tear changes in the hip.

Injury

A sudden (acute) injury may occur from a fall on the hip, a direct blow to the hip or knee, or abnormal twisting or bending of the leg. Examples of acute injuries that may cause a snap, pop, or grating sound or feeling include:

  • A broken hip (hip fracture ) or pelvis (pelvic fracture), such as an avulsion fracture.
  • A dislocated hip or sprained hip.
  • Muscle strain in the groin or buttock.
  • Severe bruising (contusion).

Hip movement

A condition known as iliotibial band syndrome is a painless snap, pop, or grating sensation heard or felt in the hip joint when you sit or squat (not at the time of an injury). The snapping sensation occurs when a tendon moves over a bony point of the hip, pelvis, or upper thighbone (greater trochanter). You may not have hip pain or you may have only mild tenderness. Knee pain, a decreased ability to move the hip, and leg weakness may also be present. Iliotibial band syndrome usually affects people ages 15 to 40 and is a common problem in ballet dancers, athletes (such as distance runners), or people who do similar hip movement exercises.

Other causes

Other possible causes of a snapping hip include:

  • A tight or inflamed iliopsoas tendon that connects the muscles that extend from the pelvis to the top of the femur (greater trochanter).
  • Inflammation of the fluid-filled sac that cushions and lubricates the hip joint (trochanteric bursitis).
  • Breakdown of the tissue that cushions the joint space from osteoarthritis.
  • Scar tissue formation after surgery to replace the hip (a total hip replacement).

Treatment depends on the location, type and severity of the injury as well as your age, general health, and activities (such as work, sports, and hobbies). Treatment may include first aid measures; application of a brace, cast, harness, or traction; physical therapy; medication; or surgery.


By: Healthwise Staff Current as of: June 4, 2014
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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