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What muscles control the hip and knee joints?

Rick Olderman
Physical Therapy

Central to our understanding of hip and knee pain is the pelvis and the muscles that attach to it. These muscles control the hip and knee joints. I like to think of the pelvis as three bones: the sacrum and two ilia. Each ilium houses the hip socket where the thigh bone (femur) attaches to form the hip joint. The ilia also form a joint with the sacrum called the SI joint (“S” for sacrum and “I” for ilium).

An array of hip muscles work in concert not only to stabilize the pelvis and move the leg but also to correctly track the head of the femur in the hip socket and control rotation at the knee. Most problems I see involve weak or poorly timed gluteal muscles (the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius) together with overly tight muscles in the front of the pelvis and poor movement habits reinforcing these issues.

Fixing You: Hip & Knee Pain: Self-treatment for IT band friction, arthritis, groin pain, bursitis, knee pain, PFS, AKPS, and other diagnoses

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Fixing You: Hip & Knee Pain: Self-treatment for IT band friction, arthritis, groin pain, bursitis, knee pain, PFS, AKPS, and other diagnoses

Hip and knee pain are often a result of poor pelvic muscle performance in combination with poor walking habits. This combination creates tracking problems in the hip socket or excessive rotation at...

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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.