Hips that pop, click, or snap during particular movements characterize snapping hip syndrome. While often harmless, the following conditions can sometimes lead to joint damage and pain.

  1. Internal snapping hip occurs when a tendon slides over protruding bony structures at the front of the hip joint, creating tension that releases with a "snap".
  2. External snapping hip occurs when a muscle or tendon slides over the knobby bone at the top of the femur (the greater trochanter), creating tension that is released with a snapping sensation at the outside of the hip.
  3. Snapping hip due to cartilage injury occurs when there is an acetabular labral tear, an injury to the articular cartilage, or loose material in the hip.

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