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  • External hip snapping syndrome occurs when the Iliotibial band (IT band) snaps over the greater trochanter bump on the hip bone

  • External hip snapping (also referred to as coxa saltans or dancer’s hip) can lead to snapping of the IT band which can be seen with certain hip motions

  • External hip snapping is a sign that the IT band is too tight which leads to abnormal hip mechanics and oftentimes pain

  • External hip snapping is often associated with greater trochanteric bursitis due to the repetitive inflammation and snapping


  • External hip snapping is usually an overuse phenomenon. However, it can also occur after trauma. It is also more common in patients with tight IT band.

  • It usually occurs with the hip in flexion, extension, and external or internal rotation

  • It is very common in ballet dancers, runners, soccer players, and any athlete that does repetitive hip motions


  • Patients with external hip snapping have pain in the outer part of the hip or thigh 

  • They often report seeing the snapping of the IT band over the hip bone 

  • Difficulty walking and physical activities may result


  • A course of rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, aggressive IT band stretching, and a home exercise program is the mainstay of treatment for external hip snapping. More than 90% of proximal hamstring injuries are treated with this program

  • Cortisone injections may be an option in patients with significant greater trochanteric bursitis emanating from the snapping

  • Surgery is considered in patients with failure of extensive conservative management

  • Surgery consists of loosening the IT band, usually through Z lengthening of the IT band


  • Strengthening and stretching the IT band, avoiding repetitive hip motions, and warming up prior to physical activity can help decrease the chance of external hip snapping

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