How Does a Hip Joint Move?



The hip joint is one of the most active joints in the human body and is designed for many different types of movement. It has three main axes which allow movement in all three degrees of freedom. All axes go through the rotational center of the hip joint.

  1. Abduction—Sideways movement of the leg away from the midline of the body
  2. Adduction—Inward movement of the leg toward the midline of the body
  3. Flexion—Forward bending or lifting of the leg toward the body
  4. Extension—Backward extending of the leg away from the body
  5. Any deviation from the proper ball-and socket joint alignment can lead to:
    • Malposition in the leg causing overstraining and increased cartilage wear, and thus osteoarthritis
    • Leg length discrepancies
    • Offset of the femoral head
    • Limited range of motion

One of the main goals of total hip replacement surgery is to restore natural joint alignment.

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