Anterior acetabulum of right hip



by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

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The hip consists of two bones. They are the femur and the pelvis.

The acetabulum is a deep fossa (pocket) on the lateral side of the pelvis.

The femur is the largest bone in the body. On its proximal end, the rounded head of the femur articulates with the with the acetabulum. The head then narrows to form the neck. Lateral to the neck is a bulge called the greater trochanter. Medial and inferior is a smaller bulge, the lesser trochanter. These trochanters serve as sites for muscle attachments.

The hip is a synovial, ball-and-socket type joint formed by the head of the femur and acetabulum. The acetabulum fits tightly around the head of the femur so that unlike the shoulder, the hip sacrifices a bit of movement for additional stability. The head of the femur rotates freely within the smooth, surrounding surface of the acetabulum. Hyaline cartilage lines this joint.

The hip can move in three planes of motion including flexion-extension (bending forward and back), abduction-adduction and medial to lateral rotation. Abduction is movement of the leg away from midline and is limited by the contact of the greater trochanter with the outer ridge of the acetabulum. Adduction is movement of the leg towards the midline. Medial rotation occurs when the leg is rotated inward about a vertical axis. Lateral rotation is outward about a vertical axis.

The acetabulum covers the upper (superior) portion of the head of the femur as well as a small portion of the front (anterior) and back (posterior) of the femoral head.





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