"Snapping" refers to a noise and catching motion of the hip that occurs with certain movement. A snapping hip is usually the result of soft tissue structure catching on one of the bones around the hip. The most common cause occurs on the outside of the hip and can be quite dramatic (coxa saltans externa). In many cases, the snapping is confused with dislocation of the joint. Another common cause occurs inside the pelvis and tends to be less obvious (coxa saltans interna). In both cases, nonsurgical treatments are usually successful.
Occasionally, the hip will snap as a result of a loose piece of tissue inside the joint. This can result in pain and damage to the joint itself. Arthroscopy of the hip is usually successful in these cases.