Iliopsoas Tendonitis and Snapping Hip

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What is iliopsoas tendonitis?

Snapping hip or coxa saltans is a general term that describes a snap or click in the hip that occurs with certain movements such as flexion-extension (raising and lowering the whole leg) or rotation (twisting of the hip). Tendonitis, or inflammation of the iliopsoas tendon (hip flexor tendon), is a common cause. This tendon drapes over the front of the hip socket and can become inflamed after injury, with overuse, or when the hip socket is too prominent (Pincer-type FAI). As the inflamed tendon rubs over the bone of the hip socket, it can catch, causing a painful click, which can be felt and sometimes heard.

What symptoms does iliopsoas tendonitis cause?

Iliopsoas tendonitis is characterized by pain and clicking or snapping in the groin or front of the hip. Because the iliopsoas muscle acts as a hip flexor, symptoms are often worse when bending the hip, especially against resistance. Unlike the hip joint, the iliopsoas tendon is fairly close to the skin, so the front of the hip area or groin may also be tender to the touch.

How is iliopsoas tendonitis diagnosed?

Your sports medicine physician can often diagnose iliopsoas tendonitis or snapping hip based on your symptoms and with an examination of the hip. Imaging (x-ray and MRI) is generally not required.

How is iliopsoas tendonitis treated?

In mild cases, iliopsoas tendonitis may be treated with activity modification and anti-inflammatories or a cortisone injection. In more severe cases, snapping hip is treated at arthroscopy by removing the inflamed tissue and releasing the tendon so that catching no longer occurs. Keep in mind that some people have snapping without pain and that we generally do not intervene in this case.