The sound of popping joints alarms a lot of people. Even though many joints can pop without inducing any pain, the sound of bone-grinding pops is rarely taken as a positive sign. While popping can be little more than a normal side effect of movement, other times it can be a sign of something else going on in your joints. By examining the popping in your hip and its accompanying symptoms, you can better determine the cause.
The most common cause of popping joints is joint friction. Simply put, this is when two pieces of bone in a joint, such as a ball and socket, rub against one another as you move. Sometimes it is also cartilage rubbing on bone. According to yoga instructor Paul Grilley, writing for Yoga Journal, joint friction is usually no cause for concern. You might not want to go out of your way to do it, but in the normal course of life it is harmless.
Snapping Hip Syndrome
Snapping hip syndrome involves a tendon called the iliotibial band, which runs from the buttocks to the knee. When the tendon becomes too tight against the bone in the hip, it can make a snapping or popping noise. This may occur because the band it too stressed or because tensed buttocks muscles are drawing the band tight. It may cause some inflammation and discomfort in the hip as well as the knee, but it is usually treatable through stretching, icing and/or massaging the band.
Most cases of a popping hip will not yield any risks. However, as with snapping hip syndrome, inflammation may develop in the joint, and there can be swelling if a tendon or bursa sac becomes aggravated or damaged. According to the Library of Congress' Everyday Mysteries, excessive popping may lead to some soft tissue damage, although the effects can be minor.
You shouldn't have to worry about any popping going on in the hip joint. If the noise can be eliminated by adjusting your sit-up position, consider making a change. Some hip popping may be unavoidable regardless of whether you are doing sit-ups or not.
If you experience sharp pains when popping occurs in the hip, you may have a condition more serious than joint friction. Hip bursitis could be the cause, or a burst bursa sac. These conditions do not pose any significant threat, but they can be debilitating for a short time and force you out of certain activities to let the healing process occur. However, if you experience this pain during sit-ups, you are likely experiencing it throughout your day.