Snapping Hip Syndrome: a Case of Weak Stabilizers
from all walks of life can be seen heading to the gym with meager knowledge on
how to perform their workout consisting of
that focus on
hamstring muscles. What many fail to recognize is the importance of
strength in the hip stabilizers to prevent
injury and improve
balance. Our bodies have two types of muscle: movers and
(other than those in the internal organs).
- Movers: muscles that move us, which are the muscles
we tend to exercise in the gyms
- Stabilizer: muscles that hold our
joints, maintaining proper axis of rotation during movement at the
joint. These muscle systems are quite different in how they work.
According to the American Council on Exercise, "Stabilizing muscle
contractions are generally isometric contractions that act to support the trunk,
limit movement in a joint, or control balance." In other words, muscles acting
in a stabilizing role aren't directly involved in lifting a weight, but instead
keep certain parts of the body steady so that the primary working muscles can do
their job properly. Inadequately developed stabilizer muscles can lead to
pain in the knee, back, or Snapping Hip Syndrome.
Every joint in our body that allows for mobility is equally equipped with
stabilizers that allow for controlled motion, the ability to shift our center of
gravity, and the handling of various loads.
Snapping Hip Syndrome
Sometimes called dancer's hip, is a condition in which you hear a snapping
sound or feel a snapping sensation in your hip when you walk, run, get up from a
chair, or swing your leg around.
The most common cause of a snapping hip is the iliotibial band snapping
over the greater trochanter. Sudden loading of the
hip (eg, landing after a jump) may reproduce this sensation of the
iliotibial band subluxing over the greater trochanter. With sudden loading, the
hip typically is flexed, causing the iliotibial band to move anteriorly followed
by the tendon snapping backward as the individual recovers and extends the hip.
The iliopsoas tendon, which connects to the inner part of the upper
can also snap with hip movement.
Another site of snapping is where the ball at the top of the thigh bone fits
into the socket in the pelvis to form the hip joint. The snapping occurs when
the rectus femoris tendon, which runs from inside the thighbone up through the
pelvis, moves back and forth across the ball when the hip is bent and
(Source : mendmyhip.com)
External snapping hip syndrome is caused by either the iliotibial band
or gluteus maximus snapping over the greater trochanter. Common in,
gymnastics, rebounding in basketball, long jumping in track-and-field
(Source : Wikipedia)
Internal snapping hip
syndrome is most commonly caused by a snapping of the iliopsoas tendon
over the iliopectineal eminence. As an overuse phenomenon, this condition
may occur in any activity resulting in repeated hip flexion or external
rotation of the femur. Activities that may predispose to iliopsoas
tendinitis include dancing, ballet, resistance training (eg, squats),
rowing, running (particularly uphill), track and field, soccer, and
In the sub acute (3 days to 3 weeks) and the chronic stage (3 weeks to 2
years) it is important that training should be adapted to avoid jumping or any
exercises that put excessive strain on the patellar tendon.
Exercises to treat and prevent snapping hip syndrome vary depending on the type
of snapping hip syndrome (external or internal) you have. The stretching
and strengthening exercises may include:
Quad Stretch: Stand arm length from a wall, place the hand
opposite the hip against the wall for support. With your other hand, take
hold of the ankle of the painful leg and, keeping your knees together, pull
your ankle up toward your buttocks. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and release.
Repeat three times with both the legs.
bridge: Lie on your back with your hands by your sides, your knees bent and
feet flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are under your knees. Tighten your
abdominal and buttock muscles.
Raise your hips up to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders.
Squeeze your core and try to pull your belly button back toward your spine. If
your hips sag or drop, lower yourself back on the floor. The goal is to maintain
a straight line from your shoulders to your knees and hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
The piriformis stretch: Lie flat on your back with bent
knees so you can place the ankle of the other leg on top of the opposite
knee for the stretch. Hold the back of the thigh for 30-40 sec.
Chair-sitting Stretch: Sit up straight and pull one leg up,
resting your ankle on your opposite knee. Make sure your leg is parallel to
the floor. Slowly bring your chest forward until you feel your hips begin to
stretch. Make sure your back remains straight through the whole stretch.
Stay in that position for 20 to 30 seconds then slowly raise your body back
up. Once you have finished one leg, move on to the other leg and repeat the
Iliotibial band stretch: Stand with your legs together, cross
your (uninjured) leg in front of the (painful) leg, then bend down and touch
your toes. Hold for 30 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat
It is important that when exercise is resumed, the athlete warms up and
cools down sufficiently to prevent the ITB, TFL and Glutes tightening up and
causing friction as they run over the Great Trochanter.
- For legs and hips, try
deadlifts and weighted
lunges instead of
leg press and
leg extension. The former exercises require the muscles of your
shoulder to support and steady a barbell, while the latter exercises
allow you to shift much of the stabilization responsibility to the seat on
which you recline.
pull-ups are better than machine pull-downs
Dips are better than bench presses, and
- Standing military presses are better than the seated equivalent.
Dated 19 June 2012