The hip is the body’s second largest weight-bearing joint (after the knee). It is a ball and socket joint where the leg and hip bone meet. All the parts of the hip work together so you can move in a number of ways (range of motion). Damage to any component can negatively effect range of motion and the ability for the joint to bear weight. A damaged hip may require an operation using one of three types of hip replacement surgery.
Parts of the Hip – 1- Femur
The upper leg bone or thigh bone. It is the largest bone of the body. The femur has several regions
- 1A – Femoral head – the upper part is the femoral head, which is a rounded top or ball. It fits into the acetabulum. Strong ligaments and muscles attach to the femur making the joint sturdy.
- 1B – Neck – Connects the femoral head to the shaft
- 1C – Shaft – Bottom or long part fits into the knee joint. Muscles are necessary for full range of motion and attach to two protrusions near the top of shaft where muscles attach and join to the joint.
- 1AA – Greater trochanter
- 1AB – Lesser trochanter
Parts of the Hip – 2 – Pelvis
The pelvis or hip bone is made of three parts
Before puberty – the triradiate cartilage separates the three areas
Between the ages of 15 – 17 the three areas fuse together to form the acetabulum.
Parts of the Hip – 3 – Acetabulum
Acetabulum is a circular cup in the pelvis or hip bone where the femur’s femoral head fits. It is completely formed between the ages of 20 – 25 to complete the hip joint.
3A – Capsule or Socket
The area inside the acetabulum. It is full of ligaments which surround the joint.
3B – Synovial Membrane
A thin area inside of the acetabulum which lubricates and nourishes the joint.
Fluid-filled sacs in the acetabulum which provides cushioning where there is friction. Bursae lay between muscles, tendons and bones.
Parts of the Hip – Muscle Groups
Gluteals are the buttocks muscles, and there are three main muscles in the group. They attach to the back of the pelvis and insert into the greater trochanter of the femur.
- Gluteus maximus – the largest of the gluteal muscles and one of the strongest muscles of the body.
- Gluteus minimus – is the smallest of the gluteal muscles and situated beneath the gluteus medius.
- Gluteus medius – situated at the outer surface of the pelvis.
The quadriceps muscle group consists of four muscles and attach to the top of the tibia.
- Vastus lateralis
- Vastus medialis
- Vastus intermedius
- Rectus femoris
The Iliopsoas is the main and strongest of the hip flexor muscle. It has three parts which attach lower part of the spine and pelvis across the joint and insert into the lesser trochanter of the femur.
- Psoas major
- Tensor fasciae
The hamstrings are three muscle at the back of the thigh which attach to the lowest part of the pelvis. The muscles cross both the hip and knee joint and are critical in knee flexion and extension of the hip.
- Bicep femoris
Groin Muscles – Adductor Muscles
The groin muscle group attach to the pubis and run down the inside of the thigh. These are muscles shaped like fans. They pull the legs together when contracted and stabilize the hip joint. The groin muscle group consists of five muscles.
- Adductor brevis
- Adductor longus
- Adductor magnus
Parts of the Hip – Ligaments
Ligaments along with muscles create range of motion.
- Iliofemoral Ligament – connects the pelvis to the femur at the front of the hip joint.Pubofemoral Ligament – attaches the most forward part of pubis to the femur.
- Ischiofemoral ligament – attaches the ischium to the femur at lowest part of the pelvis.
Parts of the Hip – Cartilage
Cartilage are areas of membrane between the femur and acetabulum. It creates a smooth layer which cushions the bones and reduces shock. Cartilage allows the bones to move smoothly.
Labrum – circular layer of cartilage surrounding the outer part of the acetabulum. The labrum makes the socket deeper to provide more stability for the joint. Labrum tears are a common hip injury and require a different type of surgery to repair the cartilage.
Parts of the Hip – Iliotibial Band Tendon
The main tendon of the hip is called the iliotibial band. Many muscles on the hip and leg attach to this tendon. If this tendon becomes tight or overused, it contributes to hip pain.
Parts of the Hip – Major Nerves and Blood Vessels
- Sciatic nerve – back of the hip
- Femoral nerve – front of the hip
- Femoral artery – begins in the pelvis and moves down the front of the hip and down the thigh
Knowing the parts of the hip is useful in your hip replacement experience. It allows you to speak intelligently with your orthopedic surgeon and health provider, and describe where your pain is occurring. Please bring this information with you if you are seeing your doctor, or physical therapist for the first time so you can better understand your diagnosis and plan for surgery or rehabilitation.
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Resources in This Post
EverydayHealth.com: A Guide to Hip Anatomy – Hip Pain Center
BoneSmart.org: Hip Joint Anatomy, Hip Bones, Ligaments, Muscles
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:Iliopsoas
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Quadriceps femoris muscle
Livestrong.com: Daily Function of Gluteal Muscles