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Snapping Hip and Dancers - Is It A Problem?

By: Faith Pelle, Dancer and Doctorate of Physical Therapy Student at Stonybrook University


Snapping hip, also known as “Dancer’s hip”, is a condition where you feel a snapping sensation or hear a popping sound in your hip when you walk, get up from a chair, or swing your leg around. This is often caused by tightness in the muscles and tendons around the hip or repetitive hip movement, specifically hip flexion. Typically it starts painless, but can lead to bursitis ( A painful swelling of the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the hip joint) from the constant rubbing of the muscles and tendons.

Snapping hip can occur in different locations of the hip where there is potential for muscles or tendons to rub against each other. The most common location is on the lateral, or outside, portion of the thigh. This location is common because it is the site where the iliotibial band lies and often passes over the portion of

Illustration of snapping hip in dancers

the thigh bone called the ‘greater trochanter’. Another common location is the front of the hip. This is caused by the illiopsoasor rectus femoris muscle shifting across the head of the thigh or pelvis bone. The last potential location of snapping hip is the back of the hip. In this location the hamstring muscle moves across the ischial tuberosity (part of the pelvis bone). This location is not as common as other forms of snapping hip, but can cause pain with sitting motions.


Snapping hip is a type of overuse injury caused by frequent bending at the hip. It is typically seen in sports and activities that involve repetitive hip flexion. Dancers are the population that most commonly experiences this condition because of the combination of repetitive hip flexion and external rotation (turn out) of the femur. Young dancers are especially susceptible to snapping hip due to their frequent growth spurts which increases muscle tightness in this region.


Short answer - it can be. While the popping sound might not hurt initially, it can perpetuate syndromes such as bursitis, IT band syndrome, low back pain, and psoas tendinitis. For dancers specifically, snapping hip will most definitely limit your turn out in that hip and can cause muscle weakness. It's also significantly easier to treat and address BEFORE pain begins, and you have a much less likelihood of missing practices!


At Joint Effort, we focus on muscle imbalances of the hip/pelvis/ribcage that are creating the excess tightness. Snapping hip is best treated by repositioning the pelvis and ribcage so that surrounding muscles (such as quads, IT Band, hip flexors, and hamstrings) can restore to their normal positions. We also work to integrate oblique abdominals and glutes to help to support to the hip region. We use Postural Restoration (PRI) techniques to help achieve optimal alignment of the ribcage, diaphragm and pelvis to allow the body to maintain proper positioning to relieve excess tension placed on the hip joint.

To learn more about our Dance Rehab Program, CLICK HERE

To learn more about Postural Restoration, CLICK HERE


Snapping hip - orthoinfo - AAOS. OrthoInfo. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2023, from,bony%20protrusion%20in%20your%20hip.,bony%20protrusion%20in%20your%20hip.

By: Kwame Ennin, M. D. P.-R. (n.d.). 3 types of snapping hip syndrome. Sports. Retrieved January 22, 2023, from


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