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Updated: Jun 1 2021

Snapping Hip (Coxa Saltans)

Images bursography.jpg band snaping.jpg hip..jpg
  • Summary
    • Snapping Hip is a condition characterized by a snapping sensation in the hip that comprises of 3 entities: external snapping hip, internal snapping hip, and intra-articular snapping hip.
    • Diagnosis of external and internal snapping hip is generally made clinically with specific physical examination maneuvers. Advanced imaging is generally required to diagnose intra-articular snapping hip.
    • Treatment can be nonoperative or operative depending on the specific cause of the snapping and duration of symptoms.
  • Epidemiology
    • Demographic 
      • common in athletes and dancers in their teens or twenties
  • Etiology
    • Mechanism
      • 3 types of snapping hip exist with different causes
        • external snapping hip
          • most common form
          • caused by iliotibial tract sliding over greater trochanter
        • internal snapping hip
          • caused by iliopsoas tendon sliding over
            • femoral head
            • prominent iliopectineal ridge
            • exostoses of lesser trochanter
            • iliopsoas bursa
        • intra-articular snapping hip
          • caused by
            • loose bodies in the hip
              • may be seen with synovial chondromatosis
            • labral tears
  • Presentation
    • Symptoms
      • snapping sensation in and around hip joint
        • may be painful or painless
        • patient often able to reproduce snapping
        • aggravated by activity
      • clicking or locking sensation
        • more indicative of intra-articular pathology
    • Physical exam
      • external snapping hip is often visible while internal snapping is not, but may be audible ("external snapping one can see from across the room, while internal one may hear from across the room")
      • external snapping hip
        • palpate greater trochanter as hip is actively flexed
          • applying pressure will likely stop snapping, confirming diagnosis
        • tightness of tensor fascia lata diagnosed with Ober's Test
          • limited hip adduction when hip held in extension
      • internal snapping hip
        • snapping is reproduced by passively moving hip from a flexed and externally rotated position to an extended and internally rotated position
  • Imaging
    • Radiographs
      • recommended views
        • AP pelvis/hip
      • findings
        • usually normal
        • may be useful to rule-out synovial chondromatosis
    • Ultrasound
      • dynamic study which may demonstrate the snapping band in either internal or external snapping
      • may be used to localize a diagnostic challenge injection into the trochanteric bursa (external), the iliopsoas sheath (internal), or intra-articular space.
    • MRI
      • useful to rule-out intra-articular pathology
      • often performed as an arthrogram study
      • may show inflamed bursa
    • Iliopsoas bursography
      • iliopsoas tendon visualized under fluoroscopy after bursa injected with contrast dye
      • may add therapeutic injection after diagnosis is confirmed
  • Treatment
    • Nonoperative
      • often internal and external snapping are painless and require no treatment
      • activity modification
        • indications
          • acute onset (<6 months) of painful internal or external snapping hip
      • physical therapy, injection of corticosteroid
        • indications
          • persistent, painful snapping interfering with activities of daily living
    • Operative
      • excision of greater trochanteric bursa with Z-plasty of iliotibial band
        • indications
          • painful external snapping hip that has failed nonoperative management
          • snapping after total hip replacement
      • release of iliopsoas tendon
        • indications
          • painful internal snapping hip that has failed of nonoperative management
      • hip arthroscopy with removal of loose bodies or labral debridement/repair
        • indications
          • intra-articular snapping hip that has failed nonoperative management and has MRI confirmation of
            • loose bodies
            • labral tear
  • Techniques
    • Excision of greater trochanteric bursa with Z-plasty of iliotibial band
      • technique
        • lengthen the iliotibial band by Z-plasty
        • may be done endoscopically
    • Iliopsoas tendon release
      • approach
        • variety of open approaches have been described
          • anterior
          • medial
          • ilioinguinal
          • iliofemoral
      • technique
        • tendon is either partially or completely released
        • may be done with the arthroscope
          • trans-capsular from the central compartment
          • endoscopically off of the lesser trochanter)
      • post-operative care
        • avoid hip flexion strengthening for 6 weeks
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