Anatomy And Function Of The Hip
The hip, a ball-and-socket joint, is the largest weight-bearing joint in the
body. When the joint is healthy, the head of the femur (thighbone) forms
a round ball that fits into the acetabulum, a cavity at the base of the pelvis
that forms the socket.
Ligaments connect the ball to the socket and keep them both firmly
supported. The surfaces of the femoral head and the acetabulum are
covered by a smooth, tough material known as articular cartilage, which
cushions the bones and allows them to move easily. Around the rim of the
acetabulum is a layer of fibrous cartilage called the labrum, which deepens
the socket and provides a suction seal to hold the head of the femur firmly
The other surfaces of the hip joint are covered by a thin, smooth tissue
liner called the synovial membrane. This tissue produces a small amount
of synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant and reduces the amount of friction
that occurs when the bones move against each other.
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