Hip Muscles Explained


The articulation of the hip and the muscles attached to it play a crucial role in movement and balance. To provide strength and flexibility, a number of thick muscles surround the hip.

Muscles on the back of the hip are made by gluteals. The inner thigh consists of adductor muscles. Adductors pulls the leg inwards towards the other leg. Flexors of the hip are in front of the hip joint. The Iliotibial ligament serves as the attachment site for several hip muscles, and it runs along the femur from the hip to the knee.

In this article, we explore in detail the structure and function of the hip muscles and discuss the most common diseases affecting them.


The muscles of the hip include the gluteals, adductors, iliopsoas, and hamstring.


These muscles form the buttock and are attached to the back of the pelvis and inserted in the greater trochanter.

The superficial gluteal muscles are:

  • gluteus minimus
  • gluteus maximus
  • gluteus medius
  • tensor fasciae latae

The deep gluteal muscles are:

  • piriformis
  • gemellus superior
  • obturator internus
  • gemellus inferior
  • obturator externus
  • quadratus femoris


These are the muscles of the inner thigh and help with the adduction, which is pulling the leg towards the mid-line.

The hip adductors include:

  • pectineus
  • adductor longus
  • gracilis
  • adductor brevis
  • adductor magnus
  • adductor minimus
Graphical representation of the muscles of the hip (anterior view). Image by OpenStax

Iliopsoas muscle

This deep muscle, also known as the hip flexor, is in front of the hip joint and is involved in flexion. It originates from the lower back and pelvis and extends to the upper part of the femur. This muscle is formed by the psoas major and minor muscles, and the iliacus muscle.

Illustration of the muscles of the hip (posterior view). Image by OpenStax College

Hamstring muscles

These are the largest band of muscles located in front of the thigh and they help in extension by pulling the hip backwards.

These include:

  • biceps femoris
  • semitendinosus
  • semimembranosus
Illustration of the hip muscles (anterior and posterior view). Image by OpenStax College


The muscle of the hip helps in the movement around the hip joint. These are responsible for more than one type of movement:

  • Flexion – describe the movement of bringing the thighs close to the abdomen thus decreasing the angle between the two body parts
  • Extension – describe the movement of increasing the angle between the two body parts
  • Lateral rotation – describe the movement of the hips around the axis, away from the midline
  • Medial rotation – describe the mobvement of the hips around the axis, towards the midline
  • Abduction – describe the movement when the femur moves away from the midline
  • Adduction – describe the movement when the femur moves towards the midline

Blood Supply

The veins of the lоwer extremity аre desсribed bаsed оn their роsitiоn relаtive tо the fаsсiаl соmраrtment. The suрerfiсiаl veins аre аbоve the deeр fаsсiа аnd аre the drаinаge device оf the сutаneоus сirсulаtiоn.  The deeр veins аre belоw the fаsсiа аnd drаin the musсulаture.

The suрerfiсiаl veins include the reticular veins, and the greаter аnd lesser saphenous veins.  The retiсulаr veins аre lосаted between the sарbirdоus fаsсiа аnd epidermis, with the mаin aim оf drаining the pores and skin and subсutаneоus tissue. These veins соmmuniсаte with the saphenous system thrоugh рerfоrаting veins. The greаter saphenous vein lies mediаlly in the thigh, аnаstоmоsing with the соmmоn femоrаl vein аррrоximаtely 3-4  сm inferiоr аnd lаterаl tо the рubiс tuberсle.  The greаter saphenous vein is lосаted direсtly оn the musсulаr fаsсiа in а  sub соmраrtment оf the suрerfiсiаl соmраrtment.  The mаjоr deeр veins оf the thigh fоllоw the sаme nоmenсlаture оf the arteries оf the lоwer leg exсeрt for the femоrаl vein, whiсh is аn extensiоn оf the рорliteаl vein.

Illustration of the hip draining system. Image by OpenStax College
Illustration of the blood supply to the hip. Image by OpenStax College

Clinical Relevance and Associated Disorders


The condition is caused by the inflammation of muscle groups of the hip leading to acute or chronic pain.


Inflammation of the hip joint due to wear and tear of the cartilage that protects the articulation.


Inflammation of the fluid-filled sac that reduces the friction among tissues of the body (bursa).

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