We kinda doubt Gisele Bethea has hip clicking issues. Photo by Nathan Sayers for Dance Spirit.
We all know the feeling. You're in the middle of the highest grand battement of your day, or slowly lifting your knee into what's about to be a killer a la seconde extension. Then you hear it: the hip click.
For many dancers, the hip click isn't necessarily a sound of doom—rather a mild annoyance and another quirk to add to the many strange things that go on in our bodies. But it turns out, it's a real medical condition called Snapping Hip Syndrome.
The good news is that unless you're in pain when your hip snaps—or cracks or clicks—you're probably fine. According to Janine Bryant, a PhD candidate in dance medicine and a member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association, the sound you're hearing is way less scary than what you were probably imagining—just a muscle or tendon passing over a bony structure. The bad news is that even if the snapping isn't causing you any pain, it's probably slightly limiting your range of motion. The best thing you can do to ensure maximum hip mobility is to keep your muscles stretched with gentle, non-weight bearing exercises, such as pulling your knee into your chest while lying on your back to stretch your piriformis, and then rotating your leg for a "figure 4" stretch.
If you are experiencing pain when your hip clicks, Bryant recommends seeing a physician and considering cutting down on strenuous dancing until the condition improves.
Another dancer body mystery, solved.