Popping your hips may sound disgusting, but for some, it’s just another part of daily life. Regardless of if you play a sport or are highly active, you may crack your hips more often than you realize.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), popping hips is a real condition, otherwise known as snapping hip syndrome. In this condition, your hip snaps or pops from activities such as walking, standing from a sitting position or playing sports. Dancers are susceptible to hip cracking because they perform movements that work their hips. The AAOS mentions snapping happens when a muscle creates movement over a bony knob in your hip.
“It seems that athletes and active patients do not give enough attention to flexibility,” says Dr. Mark Neault, an orthopedic surgeon with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Tight tissue around the hip is the most common cause for this. As we see the population becoming more active, we can see an increased incidence of this issue.”
Snapping hip syndrome affects people who usually bend their hips repeatedly. Young children are vulnerable, as well, because their legs are constantly growing. Muscles around their hip joints are tight, which causes the hip to crack, the AAOS says.
Snapping can happen to both hips or just one. Based on a 2015 study in the journal of Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy, the popping sensation often takes place on the outside of the hip; your iliotibial band transfers over your “greater trochanter” when you flex your hip or rotate it both internally and externally. The front and back of your hips are also frequent snapping areas.
To limit your chances of experiencing snapping hip syndrome, Dr. Neault emphasizes stretching before and after activities because overuse is a frequent trigger for this condition. In painful cases, you can seek early intervention by going to physical therapy to help prevent symptoms from becoming worse.
“Prevention is key, and this can be done without the assistance of a medical professional if you maintain your flexibility and monitor for excess activity. Without proper care, the painless cases often become the painful,” he says.
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