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What is a Coxa Saltans (Snapping Hip)?

The hip joint is made of the femur and the pelvis. Many muscles surround the hip joint allowing for movement of the joint itself. Sometimes some of these muscles can become inflamed or irritated, causing a slight thickening of the tendon. When this occurs, there can be a generalized click or snap with hip flexion, extension, or rotation. This is termed coxa saltans (snapping hip). This is usually caused by a tendonitis of the iliopsoas tendon (large anterior hip flexor muscle) as is rubs over the acetabulum (hip socket). A detailed history as well as a clinical exam are key in the diagnosis of snapping hip. X-rays can be used to look for associated or predisposing factors. MRI can be used to help confirm the diagnosis.

Causes

  • Decreased lower extremity flexibility
  • Overuse of the hip musculature
  • Acute injury or trauma to the anterior hip

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain, clicking, or snapping in the groin of front of the hip
  • Pain with hip flexion
  • Tenderness to palpation around the anterior hip

Treatment

Typical treatment of snapping hip is rest from all aggravating activities along with physical therapy to regain motion and strength. Strengthening of the core, hip rotators, glutes, and lower extremity are key. With rest and physical therapy most all people begin to feel much better and will begin a slow return to activity.

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