Muscles of the Hip

By Kim Segler, OT CHT

Muscles of the Hip

The hip joint is a multiaxial joint and permits a wide range of motion; flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, external rotation, internal rotation, and circumduction. The hip is at the juncture of the leg and the pelvis. It is the second-largest weight-bearing joint after the knee.

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Muscles in the hip


Hip Joint

The hip joint is a ball and socket weight-bearing joint that allows the leg to move and rotate while keeping the body stable and balanced. The hip and thigh play an integral role in the function of walking, sitting, standing, and bending.

There are four main groups of hip muscles:   Anterior /Hip flexors, Adductors, abductors, and Posterior/Gluteals/Hip extensors.

The iliopsoas group, which consists of the psoas major and iliacus muscles.

The quadriceps femoris group, which consists of the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and vastus medialis.

Sitting up, kicking a ball, and lifting a leg to climb a ladder are all activities that involve contraction of the anterior muscle group.

Posterior Muscles

The posterior muscle group is made up of the muscles that extend (straighten) the thigh at the hip. These muscles include the gluteus maximus muscle (the largest muscle in the body) and the hamstrings group, which consists of the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus muscles. Climbing stairs, standing, walking, and running are all activities that require strong contractions from the posterior muscle group to extend the leg.

Adductor Muscles

The adductor muscle group, also known as the groin muscles, is a group located on the medial side of the thigh. These muscles move the thigh toward the body’s midline. Included in this group are the adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, pectineus, and gracilis muscles. Overstretching of these muscles caused by rapid lateral movement in the thigh can lead to a groin pull, a common sports injury.

The abductor muscle group is located on the lateral side of the thigh and moves the thigh away from the body’s midline. These muscles include the piriformis, superior gemellus, inferior gemellus, tensor fasciae latae, sartorius, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus muscles. Spreading the legs to do a split is an example of a movement involving the abductor muscle.


JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP fracture and injury care. Further, this is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000.


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Written by: Kim Segler, OT CHT

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