What is the Anatomy of the Hip?

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  • Written By: Sandra Koehler
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2019
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The anatomy of the hip refers to the way the hip area is constructed. The hip connects the legs to the trunk, the body’s core. It is also part of the walls which accommodate the organs of the pelvis area. Located on the side of the body, the the hip is made up of bones, muscles and the structures that support them.

The bones of the anatomy of the hip consist of a set of three bones &emdash; the ilium, ishcium and the pubis &emdash; that glue together on either side of the body when the bones reach maturity. These bones are responsible for creating the symmetrical yet atypical shape of the hip. The right and left hip bones attach in the front and the back of the body to form a protected enclosure for the contents of the pelvis which consist of the reproductive organs and the rectum.

The leg bones, also part of the anatomy of the hip, bond to the hip bones by a joint. A joint is a like a flexible link that allows for two different areas to be connected. The bones of the hip form a cup where the femur or thigh bone nestles, referred to as a ball and socket joint. Called the acetabulofemoral joint, this junction plays an important role in supporting the torso and making the legs move. These bones stay in place by a series of muscles, tendons and ligaments.


Ligaments are rope-like fibers that allow the leg and the hip bones to stay close to each other. Muscles of the thigh run up into the hip area and attach to it by tendons, the elongated band-like cord at the end of a muscle. The muscles and tendons working in unison allow for the body to control the movement of the legs.

The majority of joints in the body permit the body parts to move in straight planes with some having the ability to have a small amount of rotation. The unique assembly in the anatomy of the hip where the upper thigh bone sits inside the curved walls of the hip bone gives the hip more movement than most of the joints in the body. The hip, one of two ball and socket type of joints in the body, lets the legs revolve around a central axis. This gives the leg the capacity to move in a circular fashion a movement called "circumduction."


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