Iliopsoas Tendonitis and Snapping Hip

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 and 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 from injury or overuse or when the hip socket is too prominent, such as with pincer impingement. 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.

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What are the symptoms of iliopsoas tendonitis?

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 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, it may be treated with arthroscopy to remove the inflamed tissue and release the tendon so that catching no longer occurs. In cases where snapping occurs without pain, we generally do not intervene.

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