Hip Joint

Hip Joint

This is the hip joint PDF for you to download

The canine hip joint is a synovial ball and socket joint, involving the head of the femur (ball) and the deep acetabulum of the os coxae (deep socket).

The dog is biomechanically designed to move forwards in the sagittal plane. Functionally (physiologically) the hip joint's main movements are flexion and extension, whereas anatomically it can move in all directions.

The canine hip joint has a deep socket, with an anatomically congruent design providing a useful supporting joint structure. This is in comparison to the canine shoulder joint, which has a large humeral head in relation to the shallow, smaller glenoid cavity.

This anatomical shape limits the shoulder joint design as a joint supporting feature, but does offer a congruent appositional surface.

Signpost: Check out the shoulder joint information alongside the hip joint to compare and contrast these ball and socket joints.

Hip Joint Supporting Structures

As loose links all synovial joints require stabilising structures to maintain the support needed for efficient natural balanced stance, postures and motion.

The 2 main supporting structures in the canine hip joint are;

  1. Cranial dorsal supporting aspect of the acetabulum
  2. Ligament of the head of femur (Also known as the teres ligament and round ligament of the head of femur)

Other supporting structures include;

  • Fibrous joint capsule
  • Congruence and anatomical shape of the deep acetabulum and femoral head
  • The acetabulum is further deepened by the the acetabular lip (horse shoe shaped cartilage)
  • Transverse acetabular ligament bridges the gap in the acetabular lip
  • Pelvic muscles of close association of the hip
  • Dynamic stability provided by surrounding tendons and muscles

Supporting joint structures are static and dynamic, both integrating to ensure the dog's specific joint motion is efficient and enables the canine patterns of movement. Canine joint motion is very different to human patterns of movement and function, as is the loading of the limbs, due to the quadruped design.

Pelvic muscles

The caudal group of hip muscles are an important dynamic supporting structure of the hip joint, plus have an action of canine lateral hip rotators. They work in opposition with the Gluteal muscles (medial hip rotators) to maintain and optimise forward motion in the sagittal plane.

Internal obturator muscle; is a fan shaped muscle which lies on the dorsal surface of the ischium and pubis bones.

Origin; the symphyseal pelvis and dorsal surface of the ischium and pelvis

Insertion; trochanteric fossa

Innervation; Sciatic nerve

Gemelli muscles; these are a fused pair of muscles that lie under the tendon on Internal obturator muscle.

Origin; lateral surface of ischium, caudal to the acetabulum and ventral to the lesser ischiatic notch

Insertion; trochanteric fossa

Innervation; Sciatic nerve

Quadratus femoris muscle; is a short thick muscle which lies under the Biceps Femoris muscle and the dorsal border of this muscles lies very close to the Gemelli muscles.

Origin; ventral surface of caudal ischium

Insertion; intertrochanteric crest

Innervation; Sciatic nerve

External obturator muscle; another fan shaped muscle which lies on the ventral surface of the pubis and ischium.

Origin; ventral surface of pubis and ischium

Insertion; trochanteric fossa

Innervation; Obturator nerve

Therapeutic Palpation

Clinical Tip: For accurate and relevant information, it's important to consider the bony landmarks near to the structure you are going to palpate. Finding these using Therapeutic Handling and Therapeutic Touch empowers your clinical palpation skills, accuracy and confidence of the dog in your professional care. Always practice on the skeleton first!


Clinical Tip: For accurate and relevant information, it's very useful to palpate the dog in different postures as the dog's natural fascial tension changes depending on the posture the dog is in. Muscle tension also alters with postures as well as the emotional status of each dog in the clinical environment and during the therapeutic palpation experience.

Tuber sacrale palpation.
Tuber sacrale palpation.
Tuber ischii (AKA ichiatic truberosity) palpation.
Tuber ischii (AKA ichiatic truberosity) palpation.

This Bitesize Resource was produced for you and is owned by K9HS Courses