Hip Joint Movements

Motion of the Pelvis on the Femur:
  • Whenever the hip joint is weight-bearing, the femur is relatively fixed, and, in fact motion of the hip joint is produced by movement of the pelvis on the femur.
Anterior and Posterior Pelvic Tilt
  • Anterior and posterior pelvic tilt are motions of the entire pelvic ring in the sagittal plane around a coronal axis.
  • Anterior and posterior tilting of the pelvis on the fixed femur results hip flexion and extension, respectively.
  1. Anterior Pelvic Tilt: when ASIS moves anteriorly and inferiorly; while PSIS moves anteriorly and superiorly. The symphysis pubis moves downward and sacrum moves away from the femur.
  2. Posterior Pelvic Tilt: when ASIS moves posteriorly and superiorly; while PSIS moves posteriorly and inferiorly. The symphysis pubis moves upward and sacrum moves towards the femur.
  3. Lateral Pelvic Tilt:
  • Lateral pelvic tilt is a frontal plane motion of the entire pelvis around an anteroposterior axis.
  • If a person stands on the left limb and hikes the pelvis, the left hip joint is being abducted because the medial angle between the femur and a line through the ASISs increases.
  • If a person stands on the left leg and drops the pelvis, the left hip joint will adduct because the medial angle formed by the femur and a line through the ASISs will decrease.
Anterior and Posterior Pelvic Rotation:
  • Pelvic rotation is motion of the entire pelvic ring in the transverse plane around a vertical axis.
  • Occurs in both unilateral and bilateral stance.
  1. Forward rotation of the pelvis occurs in unilateral stance when the side of the pelvis opposite to the supporting hip joint moves anteriorly. Forward rotation of the pelvis produces medial rotation of the supporting hip joint.
  2. Backward rotation of the pelvis occurs when the side of the pelvis opposite the supporting hip moves posteriorly. Posterior rotation of the pelvis produces lateral rotation of the supporting hip joint.
Movements and Muscles
  • The movements that can be carried out at the hip joint are listed below, along with the principle muscles responsible for each action:
  • Flexion – iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius
  • Extension – gluteus maximus, semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris
  • Iliofemoral ligaments limits extension at the hip joint
  • Abduction – gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and the deep gluteals (piriformis, gemelli etc.)
  • Adduction – adductors longus, brevis and magnus, pectineus and gracillis
  • Lateral rotation – biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, and the deep gluteals (piriformis, gemelli,obturator internus, obturator externus, quadratus femoris, etc.)
  • Medial rotation – gluteus medius and minimus, semitendinosus and semimembranosus
  • The degree to which flexion at the hip can occur depends on whether the knee is flexed – this relaxes the hamstring muscles, and increases the range of flexion.
  • Extension at the hip joint is limited by the joint capsule and the iliofemoral ligament. These structures become taut during extension to limit further movement
  • Tensor fasciae latae causes Abduction of hip , Flexion of hip, Extension of knee
Exam Question
  • Gluteus maximus, piriformis, obturator internus, obturator externus, quadratus femoris, superior gemellus, and inferior gemellus are responsible for external rotation of the hip
  • Gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and the deep gluteals are abductors of thighs
  • Tensor fasciae latae causes Abduction of hip , Flexion of hip, Extension of knee
  • Iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius are muscles causing flexion
  • Iliofemoral ligaments limits extension at the hip joint
  • Medial rotation and Abduction is caused by Gluteus medius and Gluteus minimus

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