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The acetabulum is a cavity at the base of the pelvis that forms a socket for the head of the femur (thighbone). Together, the acetabulum and the femur are key components of the ball-and-socket hip joint.

articular cartilage

Articular cartilage is a layer of smooth, tough, material1 in the hip joint that covers the surface of the femoral head and acetabulum, cushioning them and allowing them to move against each other without causing damage.


Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation (swelling) of the joints and bones. The main symptoms of arthritis include: pain, stiffness, restricted movements of the joints, inflammation and swelling, warmth and redness of the skin over the joint.


An arthroscope is a small telescope, which uses fibre optic technology to project an image to a television monitor. An arthroscope can be inserted through an incision the width of a straw tip to inspect a patient's joint and locate their source of pain during surgery5.

avascular necrosis

Avascular necrosis (AVN) or osteonecrosis is bone death caused by poor blood supply to the area. It is most common in the hip and shoulder and can be caused by long-term treatment with steroids, excessive alcohol use, sickle cell disease, radiation disease, Gaucher disease, decompression sickness, dislocation or fractures around a joint6.



A burr is a mechanical device used to shave bone.


Corticosteriods are a type of medication containing steroids, and are used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. They can be taken orally or can be injected directly into the joint7.


The femur is also known as the thighbone. The head of the thighbone is a round 'ball' shape that fits in to the acetabulum, a cavity at the base of the pelvis that forms the socket of the hip joint.

hip arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy [ahr-thros-kuh-pee] is an established form of keyhole surgery that is widely available and an important treatment option for those patients experiencing hip pain and/or discomfort (or related groin pain which can often be a sign of problems with the hip joint).

hip impingement

Hip impingement is a disorder caused by lack of room, or clearance between the head and neck of the femur and the rim of the acetabulum. Due to this lack of clearance, when the hip is flexed, as in many common activities, the femur and the rim of the acetabulum rub together, causing significant pain in the joint. As a result of extensive contact between the femur and acetabulum, the labrum may suffer damage, slowly degenerate, and may even cause arthritis in the hip over time.


The labrum is a layer of fibrous tissue covered in a synovial membrane that lines the rim of the socket in which the ball of the femur sits. The labrum provides cushioning for the joint and is one factor that can affect the stability of the hip joint.


labral tears

A tear in the labrum can result either from injury or from degeneration due to impingement or other joint conditions. Labral tears can be painful and may cause symptoms such as locking or 'catching' in the joint and pain in the hip or groin area.


A ligament is a tough band of connective tissue that connects various structures8; they connect the ball-and-socket joint and keep it firmly supported. There are several ligaments in the hip (ligamentum teres, transverse ligament, pubofemoral, illiofemoral and ishiofemoral). The latter three ligaments make up the hip capsule.

loose bodies

Loose bodies are small, loose fragments of cartilage or bone, often caused by trauma, such as a fall, a car accident5, a sports-related injury, or degenerative disease.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may temporarily treat inflammation and pain in the hip joint.


snapping hip

Snapping hip syndrome is a medical condition characterised by a snapping sensation and an audible click upon flexion and extension of the hip joint1.


A suture is fine thread or other material used surgically to close a wound or join tissues9.

synovial membrane

The synovial membrane or synovium is a thin layer of tissue, only a few cells thick, which lines the joints and tendon sheaths. The synovial membrane controls the environment within the joint and tendon sheath. It does this by acting as a membrane to determine what can pass into the joint space and what stays outside. In addition, the cells within the synovium produce substances (including synovial fluid) that lubricate the joint10.

synovial fluid

Synovial fluid is the slippery fluid that lubricates joints and provides nutrients to the cartilage. Also known as the synovia11.