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Anatomy of the Hip


Lt Col Jerman
The hip is the joint that connects the thighbone, or femur, to the pelvis. Dr. Patel, can you tell us more about the anatomy of the hip?

Dr. Patel
Definitely, Dr. Jerman. Hips are considered ball-and-socket joints because the ball-like top of the femur, or femoral head, moves within a socket in the pelvis called the acetabulum. Smooth tissue called articular cartilage covers the surface of the femoral head and the acetabulum to help the bones glide across each other without friction. Strong fibrocartilage called the labrum forms a gasket around the acetabulum, creating a tight seal with the femoral head.

Several ligaments connect bone to bone to stabilize the hip joint and form the joint capsule, which is lined by a thin membrane called synovium. Synovium produces a viscous fluid that lubricates the joint. Fluid-filled sacs called bursal sacs also provide cushioning and reduce friction in the joint capsule.

The hip joint is surrounded by several large muscles, which are attached to the bones by fibrous tissues called tendons. On the backside of the hip are the gluteals, which are the muscles of the buttocks, and the hamstrings, which are muscles on the back of the thigh. The iliopsoas muscle begins in the lower back and connects to the upper femur.

On the front side of the hip are adductor and abductor muscles. Adductor muscles are the muscles of the inner thigh, while abductor muscles are located on the outer side. The quadriceps are large muscles on the front of the thighs that run from the hip to the knee. Hip flexors and abdominal muscles also contribute to hip movement and stability.

Major nerves, including the sciatic nerve and the femoral nerve, are also part of the hip. The sciatic nerve is located at the back of the hip, and the femoral nerve is at the front.

Finally, blood vessels also run through the hip joint. One major vessel is the femoral artery, which begins in the pelvis and passes by the front of the hip and down the thigh