Skip to content

Why is my hip popping all the time?” When to be concerned

Hip Pops A lot

Snap! Crackle! Pop!  We’re not talking about Rice Krispies cereal today. Instead, we’re going to answer the question: “Why is my hip popping all the time?” This is one of the most common questions we get asked here at Healthy Consumer Physical Therapy in Lansing, MI.

Let’s start with some good news:

Most noises in the hip by themselves are not anything to worry about. You may notice all sorts of sounds and sensations as you go about your day: clunks, pops, clicks. It’s not uncommon for your hips to create a medley of sounds, especially as we age.

What are the causes of my hip popping all the time?

There are several different parts of your body that may explain your hip popping all the time.

These are some of the most common (*please see disclaimer below):

  • Snapping – more often than not, (especially if the sounds feel close to the surface of your skin when placing your hands there) a snapping sensation or sound is often the result of a muscle tendon gliding over a bone or other surface. You may have heard of “snapping hip syndrome.” This is a perfect example of imbalances in your hip muscles causing this sound. While a snapping sound by itself is not necessarily a problem, if it happens repeatedly, it is time for further assessment from a hip pain expert at Healthy Consumer Physical Therapy in Lansing. 
  • Popping – this is usually the least concerning of all sounds or sensations. Hips can pop for a variety of reasons, particularly in those who are hypermobile. Those with hypermobility disorders like Ehler-Danlos syndrome can have slight or partial dislocations, also known as subluxations. The hip popping in these cases is typically caused by the joint resetting back into place. This can occasionally happen in those with “regular” anatomy as well.
    • Clunking or clicking – There are several causes of clicking or clunking sounds in the hip. However, the most common cause of repeated clicking or clunking is an acetabular labral tear, hypermobility disorders, or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.   
  • Grinding A grinding sensation often suggests there may be a significant loss of cartilage in the hip OR your hip bone may be catching on the rim of the pelvis, also known as the acetabulum. This may be more serious, and an assessment by an expert of hip pain at Healthy Consumer Physical Therapy in Lansing is often recommended sooner versus later.
  • Catching – Catching sensations in the hip are quite common and typically have two causes: hip impingement or an acetabular labral tear. If you feel a catching sensation in the front of your groin or hip when squatting down, bending over, or standing up from a chair, you are very likely to have one of these conditions. These are a bit of a yellow flag, and we recommend seeking Physical Therapy sooner versus later.  
 

In general, if your hip sounds are infrequent or not repeated, and you do not have pain, you usually have little to worry about. If your hip sounds or sensations repeatedly happen, you may be predisposing yourself to earlier onset osteoarthritis or other conditions. While most hip sounds by themselves don’t warrant immediate attention, it’s smart to have your hips assessed by a Hip Pain expert at Healthy Consumer Physical Therapy in Lansing to rule out something more serious, like early-onset osteoarthritis or a labral tear.

*Please remember that these sensations are subjective and open to interpretation. If you’ve been repeatedly noticing sounds or sensations in your hip, the best solution is to have a no-obligation phone call with one of your hip pain experts. 

What about family history?

Do you have a history of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or other hypermobility disorders in your family? (These are conditions where your joints or tissues move TOO much). If you’ve known other family members to be able to do “cool party tricks” by being “extra-bendy,” you may be more likely to have a hypermobility condition. If you notice your knees, elbows, spine, or hands are more flexible than your friends, there is a high likelihood that you have an underlying genetic hypermobility disorder. An expert at Healthy Consumer Physical Therapy In Lansing can help you to determine if your symptoms warrant further treatment.

Besides your hip popping all the time, are there other symptoms?

Besides popping sensations or sounds, is there pain or discomfort with your hip noises? This may indicate that your hip issue may be more serious. Pain is the body’s warning system indicating that “something isn’t quite right here.” If pain, aching, or discomfort persists, your condition may get worse. If you have pain, aching, or discomfort in your hip or groin that persists more than 2 weeks, we highly recommend that you see one of our Physical Therapists to avoid any worsening of your condition and potential costly surgeries or other procedures.  

 

Also, do you feel a downward pressure in your pelvis or are you leaking small amounts of urine when you are active, sneeze, or laugh? This suggests you have a problem with your pelvic floor (muscles between the genitals and anus). We highly recommend giving us a call to discuss these further – we hear these kinds of stories all the time. 

(Lastly, if there are sudden changes in your bowel or bladder habits, this is often more serious and please see your physician right away.)

After you notice your hip is done popping all the time for a while, does it feel different?

Do you feel differently after your hip pops? If you feel relief after your hip pops, it is likely that your hip or pubic bones were “subluxed,” as mentioned above. If it feels worse, this may indicate a more significant problem in your hip that should be assessed by a professional like a Physical Therapist.

When should you be concerned about your hip popping all the time?

 

If you’ve been noticing your hip popping / other sounds consistently for greater than 2 weeks, it is time to ask yourself some questions to determine if Physical Therapy may help you and prevent costly surgeries or procedures:

 

  1. “Are these sounds or sensations happening frequently? “Can I reproduce them with movement?” If so, there might be an underlying problem that suggests an imbalance in your hips. This may be as simple as tight or weak muscle(s) in your hip. It could also be something more serious. One way to know for sure and find peace of mind, is to reach out to us for a no-obligation phone call or assessment.
  2. Do you feel pain, discomfort, or pressure accompanying your hip noises? If you’ve had any of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, they are unlikely to go away on their own. 
  3. Is your hip issue limiting your ability to be active and live your best life? If you’re unable to sit, sleep, travel, or enjoy your life, it’s time to consider Physical Therapy. We treat more hip pain and labral tears than anything else at Healthy Consumer Physical Therapy. 
  4. Are your hips growing stiffer over time? If so, the harsh reality is that your condition will likely worsen over time without proper treatment. The longer you wait, the more difficult the recovery is, or you may need surgery that otherwise may have been avoided.

 

If you are finding that your hips are popping all the time and you answered “YES” to any of the above 4 questions, we highly recommend speaking with our hip pain experts at Healthy Consumer Physical Therapy In Lansing. We treat hip problems more than anything else to help people get healthy, age stronger, and return to the activities they love, all without surgery or medications. 

Chris S
AUTHOR

Dr. Chris Sovey

Healthy Consumer PT

"We Help Adults 40+ Living With Pain, Stiffness, Or Loose Joints Get Healthy, Age Stronger, And Get Back To The Activities They Love, Even If Past Treatments Have Failed"

Categories
Archives

Ask About A Free 20-Minute
In-Person Chat

Ask About A Free 15-Minute
Phone Consult

Ask About Availability & Pricing