The hip joint is the second biggest joint in the human body after the knee. It connects the pelvis with the thigh. Without the hip, a whole host of movements wouldn’t be possible. They include running, standing, sitting, jumping, dancing and much more. Find out more details about the anatomy and function of the hip joint. We would also like to help you if you’re suffering from pain in the hip area, and explain what you can do to actively promote your hip health.
Anatomy of the hip
Just like the shoulder joint, the hip is what is known as a “ball-and-socket joint”. The possible range of motion required for walking, for example, is therefore extensive. The hip joint is embedded in a strong joint capsule which offers protection and generates synovial fluid. This is a kind of lubricant that reduces friction on the articular surfaces and supplies nutrients to the cartilage, which acts as a “shock absorber” between the bones, among other functions. In addition to the bony elements of the joint, a complex interaction of ligament structures and muscles ensures the stability and mobility of the hip.
The hip, a very mobile joint
Thanks to its anatomy, the hip allows us, for one thing, to lift the thigh at a maximum angle of 140 degrees to the front – this type of movement is called flexion. Then again, stretching backward, i.e. extension, is also possible up to 15 degrees. If the pelvis tips forwards during this movement, this angle can be increased, of course. Furthermore, the leg can be moved sideways to a maximum of 45 degrees outward and up to 30 degrees inward. This is called abduction and adduction. Adduction allows us, for example, to cross our legs when standing or sitting. And last but not least, the joint gives us the ability for inward and outward rotation, helping us circle our legs.
Coxalgia: pain in the hip area
However, if such a high degree of mobility meets severe strain, this will often result in injuries and signs of wear that cause pain. The medical term for this pain is “coxalgia”. Hip problems can occur in different areas: they manifest as pelvic pain, lumbar and groin pain, as pain in the lower back, in the buttocks, or directly in the hip region. It may also happen that the pain radiates all the way into your legs.
However, hip pain may also be caused by back problems. The close connection of the anatomical structures of lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip (also known as the lumbar, pelvic and hip region) often makes it harder to clearly identify the cause of the pain. Osteoarthritis, for example, can include various functional impairments of the joint structures that can affect cartilage, joint capsules, the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
What to do in cases of hip pain?
Pain in the lumbar, pelvic and hip region isn’t just uncomfortable – depending on severity, it can significantly affect everyday well-being. It’s important that you don’t take any symptoms lightly but try to find the cause as quickly as possible together with your physician.
In order for you to understand what is happening in the area of the hip or lower back, we have compiled some useful information relating to typical problems as well as their causes and treatment options.
The most common injuries and conditions in the lumbar, pelvic and hip region at a glance
Relieving and strengthening the hip
Our hip joint works incredibly hard during everyday activities: simply during standing, the entire weight of the torso, head, and arms rests on this joint. During walking, the load increases many times. When walking down the stairs for example, more than 300% of our body weight briefly rests on this ball-and-socket joint. During certain athletic movements, these forces are exceeded yet again. But that doesn’t mean that all this strain is actually damaging to the hip.
Those who want to relieve their hips in the long term should not only work on reducing any excess weight but also strengthen their muscles. Strong back, buttock and thigh muscles are crucial for healthy hips.
Sports that are gentle on the hip
We recommend low-impact activities that consist of regular, rhythmical movements, such as cycling, walking, hiking, or swimming. You may also like yoga, tai chi or Pilates. If you vary your exercises, you will protect your joints and muscles from one-sided strain and excessive strain. Regular stretching also prevents shortening of the muscles and maintains hip mobility.
Your exercise plan to combat hip pain
For targeted strengthening of your lumbar, pelvic and hip region, we have collated some exercises that you can do at home. If you’re feeling any pain, please discuss with your physician in advance which exercises are suitable for you and complement your treatment. The same applies to the use of our Training App.
An app as a personal trainer
Have you heard about the Bauerfeind Training App? It helps you with regular workouts using an exercise routine that is precisely adapted to your condition and Bauerfeind product.
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