Do you notice that your hip makes a clunking noise when you move your leg?
I have some simple exercises to help you get rid of hip clunking and get more slide and glide in your mobility!
Sometimes when I move my legs I can hear/feel a clicky kind of clunk in the front of my right hip and I know it’s time to pay a little extra attention. Sometimes when I teach I can actually hear it coming from a client half-way across the room!
A student once told me that I was the first person she’d worked with to acknowledge that hip clunking is a thing and that there’s something you can do about it. Eek! It’s totally a thing and you can absolutely do some simple moves to help.
Since then lots of people have heard of Snapping Hip Syndrome or Snapping Hips, which includes the front-of-the-hip clunk we’re talking about here, as well as a couple of other elements.
What is hip clunking/snapping hip syndrome anyway?
There are three causes of hip clunking:
External/lateral: This snapping is at the side of your hip. It’s caused by your iliotibial band snapping over the greater trochanter of the femur. That’s a strong band of connective tissue moving over a bump of bone on the outside of your upper thigh bone.
External/anterior: This is the one at the front of your hip. It’s caused by your Iliopsoas tendon snapping over a bony prominence of your pelvis. That a smaller tendon moving over a lumpy bit of the front of your pelvis instead of sliding smoothly. This is what we’re dealing with in the video below!
Intra-articular: This is the least common cause. It’s the result of injuries to tissues in and around the hip joint and is outside the scope of this discussion.
Is hip clunking serious?
Does hip clunking mean your leg is about to fall off?
No, of course not. But it also means your tissues and joints aren’t gliding smoothly and is an indication that your movement patterns could use a little love and attention.
Do you need to be afraid of hip clunking?
Nope! Just start to play around with your movement patterns to find motions that don’t create the clunk.
Will your body work better if your hips don’t clunk?
And how exactly do we define “better”?
It means your body moves more efficiently, more smoothly, with less friction and fewer restrictions. It means more strength and more mobility.
It means you get more satisfaction in your exercises, your sports and your daily life. It means less discomfort or pain and more sense of freedom and confidence to do the tings you love!
So how do you get all that and decrease your hip clunking?
Muscles need three things to work better: strength, the capacity to stretch and the capacity to release excess tension. This tutorial includes some of my favourites of each!
You may have noticed that I started this post by saying that sometimes I notice hip clunking in my own hip and that’s absolutely true. Just because I’m a long-time teacher doesn’t mean my body doesn’t have its own habits and patterns!
Bodies are wonderful, brains are smart and our movement patterns are usually very well established. Doing these exercises a few times will help ease your hip clunking, but they won’t make it go away forever. That’s a long-term process that takes time and patience. I work at it more when my hip is cranky, less when my hip is happy. I never don’t work on it at all!
If you’re looking for more details, some anatomy and a list of more exercises, click here for a free guide to Avoiding the Dreaded Hip Clunk!
Included in this series is a short psoas release. You can find more details about it here. The psoas release can be the most amazing thing ever, or it can be a bit odd. So read up on it!
10 minutes of exercises to improve hip mobility and ease hip clunking
“Bodies and brains are amazing and change is always possible. Even if that change isn’t visible to the outside world, you can move better and feel better by adding the smallest, simplest moves to your day.”