Snapping Hip

Also known as: Coxa saltans


  • This syndrome is characterized by reproduction of a snap or click at the hip with repetative motion
  • Classified as intra-articular or extra-articular (internal or external)
    • Extra-articular snapping appears to be related to thickening of the iliotibial tract at the greater trochanter (external), iliopsoas at the pectin pubis (internal), gluteus maximus fibrosis in the posterior hip (external), or adventitions bursal formations in any of these areas (Pelsser 2001; Brignall 1993)
    • Intra-articular has not been well understood or described but may be related to the suction phenomenom of the hip joint, subluxation, a torn acetabular labrum, a loose body, synovial chondramatosis, and osteocartilaginous exostosis
  • More common in female athletes

Clinical Presentation and diagnosis

  • Snapping and possible motion limitation while walking, especially when the hip moves in the direction of flexion, IR, or ER (Bellabarba 1998;Janzen 1996)
  • Clicking or snapping is a greater complaint than pain
  • Diagnosis is made by palpation while the movement and subsequent snapping occurs


  • Surgical interventions have been reported for this condition (Dobbs 2002; White 2004; Guen 2002; Hoskins 2004; Provencher 2004)
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