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Hip Popping During Pilates

Posted Aug 24 2008 9:44pm

During some pilates exercises, do you hear your hip popping, snapping, or "clunking" as your leg moves? It might not be painful, but don't you just wonder what that sound is?

The sound of your hip popping during pilates is most likely your iliotibal band or iliopsoas, rubbing over a bone.

The bone that the IT band could be rubbing over is the great trochanter (the boney nub at the top of your thigh bone). Or, your psoas may be rubbing over a pelvic bone- which is usually painless and probably no cause for concern.

However, if the IT band is indeed rubbing over the greater trochanter and the sound is not coming from the iliopsoas, bursitis may develop over time. Bursitis is when a bursa (a fluid filled sac that allows smooth movement between two surfaces) becomes inflamed. In this case of a popping hip, the bursa between the IT band and the greater trochanter could become irritated and painful as it is consistantly rubbed by the tendon.

In the picture to the left, you can see where the two bands are located. The iliopsoas (also known as psoas major and minor) is located directly to the left of the low spine. The IT Band (also known as tensor fasciae latae) is located all the way on the left side of the thigh.

To the right, you can see the greater trochanter, the round, boney part on the upper left section of the thigh bone.

Why would these tendons rub over your bones and make this sound in the first place? These tendons become too tight over time, or it may be due to skeletal or biomechanical predispositions

In pilates, you may hear this clunking sound in your hip when you move your thigh from flexion to a more extented position in exercises such as:

1. Single Leg Circles

2. The Stomach Series

3. Leg Springs

As long as it doesn't hurt, you'll have to find ways to work through the exercises without the hip clunking/popping. The most common solution is: try not to extend your leg out so low. When you reach out and raise the leg higher than, or just above, 45 degrees, the popping should stop. With leg circles, try making the circles smaller- not so wide or low.

If you feel the popping during Single Leg Circles, you can also try softening the knee, or turning the thigh into external rotation as you circle, as these two options sometimes help eliminate the popping.

If you feel concerned about the sounds your hip is making, or if its painful, don't let it go or "work through it". See your doctor- another cause of hip popping is a tear in the cartilage in your hip. Though uncommon, its not something you should ignore! Read more!

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