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The Hip
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The Hip

Like the shoulder, the hip is a ‘ball and socket’ joint. However, unlike the shoulder, it is a very stable joint. The hip is made up of two bones, and a series of muscles, tendons and ligaments. The two bones of the hip are:

  • Femur – thigh boneHip-Healthy_v1_20141126
  • Pelvis – hip bone

The upper end, or head, of the femur is shaped like a ball. This fits into the acetabulum – the cup-like socket in the pelvis. The hip joint is deep, and the head of the femur sits deep in the socket. While this makes the hip very stable and unlikely to dislocate, the movement of the joint is restricted. During movement, the femur touches the walls of the acetabulum, limiting how far the joint can move.

Several powerful muscles attach to the bones and control the movement of the joint. These include the gluteal muscles: three muscles that attach to the back of the hip bone and the top of the thigh to form the buttocks. They help to hold the pelvis and keep the body up. The largest gluteal muscle – the gluteus maximus – also inserts into the iliotibial band. This is a long tendon that runs down to the knee that stabilises the knee and helps in walking and running.

Other muscles in the hip include:

  • Adductor – on the inside of the thigh
  • Iliopsoas – attaches to the upper thigh bone
  • Rectus femoris – one of the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh
Figures

Healthy Hip

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