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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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Written by: Kim Segler, OT CHT