An insight into your hip structure and hip sports injuries

June 04, 2023 3 min read

Hip anatomy

Understanding the Hip Structure and its function

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows for a wide range of motion, including flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, and external rotation. It is formed by the head of the femur (thighbone) and the acetabulum (socket) of the pelvis. The head of the femur is covered with articular cartilage, which helps to cushion the joint and reduce friction. The acetabulum is lined with a layer of synovial membrane, which produces synovial fluid that helps to lubricate the joint.

The hip joint is supported by a number of ligaments, including the iliofemoral ligament, the pubofemoral ligament, and the ischiofemoral ligament. These ligaments help to keep the head of the femur in the acetabulum and prevent it from dislocating.

The hip joint is also surrounded by a number of muscles, including the iliopsoas, the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. These muscles help to move the hip joint and provide stability.

It is a major weight-bearing joint and is responsible for a wide range of motion, including walking, running, jumping, and kicking.

Sports injuries to the hip can occur in a number of ways, including:

  • Direct trauma: This can happen when a direct blow is struck to the hip.
  • Overuse: This can happen when repetitive stress is placed on the hip, as may occur in sports such as running, jumping, and kicking.
  • Anatomical abnormalities: Some people are born with anatomical abnormalities that make them more susceptible to hip injuries.

Common sports hip injuries are:

  • Hip pointer: A hip pointer is an injury to the iliacus muscle, which is located on the top of the hip bone. It is caused by a direct blow to the hip, such as from a fall or a collision. Symptoms of a hip pointer include pain, swelling, and bruising on the top of the hip. Treatment for a hip pointer includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended.
  • Hip bursitis: Hip bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac that cushions the bones, tendons, and muscles around the hip joint. It is caused by overuse or repetitive stress on the hip joint. Symptoms of hip bursitis include pain, swelling, and tenderness around the hip joint. Treatment for hip bursitis includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In some cases, physical therapy or corticosteroid injections may be recommended.
  • Hip labral tear: A hip labral tear is a tear in the cartilage that lines the inside of the hip socket. It is caused by overuse, repetitive stress, or a sudden injury to the hip. Symptoms of a hip labral tear include pain, clicking, and locking in the hip joint. Treatment for a hip labral tear includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In some cases, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or surgery may be recommended.
  • Hip impingement: Hip impingement is a condition in which the ball of the thighbone (femur) rubs against the socket of the hip joint (acetabulum). It is caused by a mismatch in the size of the femur and acetabulum, or by a labral tear. Symptoms of hip impingement include pain, clicking, and locking in the hip joint. Treatment for hip impingement includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In some cases, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or surgery may be recommended.
  • Stress fracture: A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone that is caused by overuse. It is common in athletes who participate in activities that involve repetitive impact, such as running or jumping. Symptoms of a stress fracture include pain, swelling, and tenderness over the affected bone. Treatment for a stress fracture includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In some cases, physical therapy or surgery may be recommended.
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage in the hip joint to break down. It is the most common type of arthritis in adults. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the hip joint. Treatment for osteoarthritis includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). In some cases, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or surgery may be recommended.

The following are some tips to prevent sports hip injuries:

  • Warm up before participating in sports.
  • Stretch after participating in sports.
  • Strengthen your hip, one way is by using an abductor and adductor machine
  • Use proper form when participating in sports.
  • Avoid activities that cause pain.
  • Wear proper footwear.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get regular exercise.


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