Research Review: Anatomy of the Hip Capsule and Pericapsular Structures

By Erik Korzen, DC, NASM CES

Edited by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Original Citation:

Cooper, H., Walters, B., Rodriguez, J. (2015).  Anatomy of the Hip Capsule and Pericapsular Structures: A Cadaveric Study.  Clinical Anatomy 28: 665-671. ABSTRACT

Why is this relevant?: The hip joint is a complex anatomical structure with relationships to often cited soft tissue structures, and other relationships that are less commonly cited.  This research study attempts a detailed view of all structures that invest in the hip capsule.  The hip joint is important in all load bearing activities and may be viewed as the pivotal structure between the core and lower extremity.  As the hip joint is affected by motion of proximal and distal joints, a thorough understanding of capsular attachments may be imperative for optimal rehabilitation and performance enhancement interventions.

Right Posterior Hip GMin= gluteus minimus, *= capsule, PF= piriformis, CJ= conjoint tendons, OE= obturator externus, GT= greater trochanter, LT= lesser trochanter

Study Summary

Study Design Quantitative Analysis
Level of Evidence Level III: Evidence from non experimental descriptive study
Subject Demographics

  • 11 fresh-frozen cadavers
  • Mean Age 79.2 (at time of death)

  • Mean Body Mass Index (BMI) 24.6 kg/m2

Outcome Measures

  • Capsular contributions defined as attachments between muscle or tendon and the hip capsule that could NOT be bluntly dissected
  • Capsular thickness measured at 8 locations along the midpoint using hemiquadrant system, as well as 5mm from acetabular origin and femoral insertion
  • Measurements performed using digital calipers to the nearest 0.1mm
  • Muscles and tendons focused on were iliocapsularis, gluteus minimus, rectus femoris, piriformis, conjoint tendon of