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Hip Joint


The hip joint is a multiaxial "ball and socket" joint between head of femur and horse shoe shaped lunate surface of acetabulum of hip bone.



The ligaments of hip joint include.

  1. Intracapsular ligaments: - These ligaments are inside the capsule. These are:
    1. Acetabular labrum (labrum acetabular):- Deepens the acetabulum and is deficient inferiorly.
    2. Transverse acetabular ligament: - Bridges the acetabular notch on the inferior margin of acetabulum.
    3. Ligament of head of femur (ligamentum teres or round ligament) :- It connects transverse acetabular
    4. Ligament to the fovea of femoral head. Artery of ligamentum teres accompanies it to supply head of femur.
  1. Fibrous capsule :- It is attached medially to hip bone around the margin of acetabulum Laterally it is attached to intertrochanteric line on the anterior aspect and 2 cm medial (proximal) to intertrochanteric crest on posterior aspect of femoral neck. Hence entire anterior surface and medial half of posterior surface of femoral neck are intracapsular.
  1. Extracapsular ligaments: - These ligaments are outside the capsule. These are:
    1. Iliofemoral ligament (Y-ligament of Bigelow):- It is the strongest ligament of the body. The stem of 'V' is attached above to anterior superior iliac spine. The medial band passes vertically downward to be attached to lower part of intertrochanteric line. Lateral band (iliotrochanteric ligament) passes obliquely laterally to be attached to a tubercle on the upper part of intertrochanteric line. Iliofemoral ligament strongly resist hyperextension of the hip joint, and thereby prevents the trunk from falling backwards. Its medial band limits abduction and lateral band limits adduction.
    2. Ischiofemoral ligament: - Covers the capsule posteriorly and prevents hyperextension of hip joint to assist iliofemoral ligament.
    3. Pubofemoral ligament: - Covers anteromedial surface of capsule.

Nerve supply

The hip joint is supplied by: (i) the femoral nerve, through the nerve to rectus femoris; (ii) anterior division of obturator nerve; (iii) the nerve to quadratus femoris; and (iv) The superior gluteal nerve.



Movements at the hip joint are flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, medial (internal) rotation, lateral (external) rotation and circumduction.


Chief muscles

Accessory muscles


Psoas major, iliacus (iliopsoas)

Pectineus, sartorius, rectus adductor longus


Gluteus maximus, Hamstrings



Gluteus medius and minimus



Adductor longus, brevis and magnus

Pectineus and gracilis

Medial rotation

Tensor fascia lata, Gluteus medius &minimus


Lateral rotation


Two obturators, two gemelli and quadratus femoris

Piriformis, gluteus maximus, sartorius


Trendelenburg’s test

  1. It measures the stability of hip joint when a person stands on one foot with the opposite foot raised from the ground, as in walking. It is mainly dependent on the abductors of hip, chiefly gluteus medius and minimus.
  2. Normally, when the body weight is supported on one limb, gluteus medius and minimus of the supported side raise the opposite and unsupported side of pelvis. In positive trendelenburg's sign, the pelvis sags downwards on unsupported side when a person is standing on one leg. This is due to paralysis of abductors of hip (gluteus medius and minimus), which are supplied by superior gluteal nerve.

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