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Hip Anatomy

The hip is one of the largest joints in the body. The healthy hip lets us walk, turn and squat without any pain. The natural hip consists of the ball shaped end of the thigh bone (femur) fitting into a socket (acetabulum) in the pelvic bone – a ball and socket joint. As well as bones, a network of muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and other soft tissues in your hip all work together to provide your body with both stability and mobility.

Cartilage is a tough a very smooth material that protects bones and absorbs shock.

Synovium is a thin layer of tissue that acts as a membrane to determine what can pass into and out of the joint space. It also produces synovial fluid (joint fluid), which lubricates hip motion. In the case of injury, the synovium can become inflamed, and secrete excess synovial fluid (a protective response). Over time, this inflammation can destroy some of your cartilage and even bone.

Ligaments connect one bone to another bone. They provide strength and stability to the hip joint from front to back, side to side, and from rotation. Each of the major ligaments is vulnerable to damage from different types of motion.

Tendons connect muscle to bone. Overuse can cause tendonitis, which produces local pain and tenderness. Tendons can also rupture.

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