Jock Doc

Snapping hip when you run may mean tight muscles

Stretching helps runners avoid snapping hip syndrome.
Stretching helps runners avoid snapping hip syndrome.

Q. I am a 42-year-old runner who has snapping on the side of my right hip. When I run and flex my knee, I feel a snap. Sometimes it hurts when it snaps. I did not injure it and it has gradually come on two months ago. I can still run but have had to cut down my mileage. It is getting annoying and I am also concerned if it is safe to run. What is my next step?

A. I believe you have a condition known as “snapping hip syndrome.” Most patients will complain of a snapping sensation on the outside of the hip. This can be constant or intermittent with walking, running or cycling.

The condition is caused by tight muscles that cross the hip, such as the Iliotibial band or the Iliopsoas muscle. It’s usually treated with an anti-inflammatory medicine, physical therapy and stretching exercises. Most of these problems get better with this treatment regimen. You should see an orthopedic surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and make certain that a more serious diagnosis, such as a cartilage tear, loose body, or impingment is not present.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to