What’s up with snapping/popping hips?

I had the pleasure of working with dancers from the Allegro Performing Arts Academy recently and they were the dancers shown in the picture on the post on strengthening the iliopsoas for higher extensions.  This week’s post is answering a common question about snapping or popping hips.  What does it mean?  There are different types of popping hip but first watch the clip below to see in action the type of popping hip I’m going to talk about.

The hip popping that is being shown in this clip is being caused by a tight IT Band snapping over the greater trochanter of the femur.  Huh?… what muscles/where are those spots you might ask?





The greater trochanter is the bump that is on the outside upper part of the thigh bone right before it angles in towards the center of the hip joint.







The IT Band, otherwise known as the iliotibial band, crosses over that area.  The iliotibial band is the fascial band that runs down the side of your leg that the gluteus maximus and the tensor fascia lata (TFL) muscles connect into high on the leg, and the band connects then to the bones below your knee.




The gluteus medius and minimus don’t connect directly into the iliotibial band, but their tightness creates an imbalance around the hip that may lead to this snapping or popping hip problem.




When there is excessive pull or tightness from one or more of these muscles the IT band will ‘snap’ or ‘pop’ over the greater trochanter when you lean into or stick your hip out to the side.  that is what you are seeing as the clunk in the clip.  It’s pretty impressive, huh?  I’ve been asked by dancers if they are dislocating something because it is disconcerting to have such a significant pop, snap, clunk… however you want to describe it.

The good news is…. you can work to decrease the tightness around the area and the clunking, popping, and snapping will diminish.  The other benefit to addressing this?  As you decrease the tightness your range of motion should improve and consequently make movements of the hip joint, like développé, battements, ronde jambe, etc. easier and more efficient.

Stay tuned… next week we will look at the 3 different muscle areas and I’ll give you ways to release each area!  Have a productive and joyful week!


“Education is the key to injury prevention”


9 replies
  1. Brandie Iampietro
    Brandie Iampietro says:

    I was very excited to see your topic this week, however the popping that my students seem to experience is more in the Front of the hip and seems to be more internal. Will you be talking about that next week as well? If not, could you make it a subject in the future? Thanks so much for this newsletter. It’s wonderful!

  2. Anne
    Anne says:

    What a coincindence! I have a wonderful student that has a popping hip problem. No pain and only the right hip! Is that common? I would like to know more about how to help her .
    Is any pain around the hip area related to the popping or is that a completely different issue?
    I love your new video format and I look forward to seeing your newsletter every week. Thank you so much!

    • deborah
      deborah says:

      Anne, Usually the type of popping hip that the student demonstrated in the video clip is not painful. That being said it is not heard of that a snapping or popping hip left unattended could shift into a bursitis or tendonitis. I would definitely suggest that dancers with pain at the hip joint get assessed by a practitioner to rule out some deeper challenge. And…. thanks for your very kind words!

  3. becca
    becca says:

    yes, i want to second Brandie because that is the kind of popping that i see most dancers having–i see the one in the video but no one seems to think it’s as much of an issue. my physical therapist sister told me the internal/posterior popping could be because of overdevelopped turnout?

    • deborah
      deborah says:

      Catherine, It’s hard to say whether your ankles are popping because there is a tendon crossing over a boney part, or if there is an adjustment of the many bones of the foot. The ankle is a more complicated joint than the hip joint.

  4. Anthony
    Anthony says:

    I am one of the few boys dancing at my performing art school. But I was having this problem when I did a grand battement to the side and i do not know why. Could it be for the same reason from the post


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