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What is a ball and socket joint?

A ball and socket joint is a type of synovial joint, such as the hip and shoulder joints. In this type of joint, one bone has a smooth, ball-shaped head that fits into a cuplike socket on the other end. In the hip, the head of the femur has a hemispherical shape that fits in the cuplike socket of the acetabulum of the pelvis. This type of joint is one of the most moveable joints in the body.

This answer provided for NATA by the University of Tampa Athletic Training Education Program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.