Snapping Hip: Imaging and Treatment

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Snapping hip, or coxa saltans, presents as an audible or palpable snapping that occurs around the hip during movement and can be associated with or without pain. The prevalence of snapping hip is estimated to occur in up to 10% of the general population, but it is especially seen in athletes such as dancers, soccer players, weight lifters, and runners. Although the snapping sound can be readily heard, the diagnostic cause may be a clinical challenge. The causes of snapping hip have been divided into two distinct categories: extra-articular and intra-articular. Extra-articular snapping hip can be further subdivided into external and internal causes. Advances in imaging techniques have improved the diagnostic accuracy of the various causes of snapping hip, mainly by providing real-time imaging evaluation of moving structures during the snapping phase. Image-guided treatments have also been useful in the diagnostic work-up of snapping hip given the complexity and multitude of causes of hip pain. We discuss the common and uncommon causes of snapping hip, the advanced imaging techniques that now give us a better understanding of the underlying mechanism, and an image-guided diagnostic and therapeutic algorithm that helps to identify surgical candidates.

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