The human hip capsule is adapted to facilitate upright posture, joint stability, and ambulation, yet it routinely is excised in hip surgery without a full understanding of its mechanical contributions. The objective of this study was to provide information about the mechanical properties of the ligaments that form the hip capsule. Cadaver bone-ligament-bone specimens of the iliofemoral, ischiofemoral, and femoral arcuate ligaments were tested to failure in tension. The hip capsule was found to be an inhomogeneous structure and should be recognized as being composed of discrete constituent ligaments. The anterior ligaments, consisting of the 2 arms of the iliofemoral ligament, were much stronger than the posterior ischiofemoral ligament, withstanding greater force at failure and exhibiting greater stiffness. Knowledge of the anatomy and mechanical properties of the capsule may help the hip surgeon choose an appropriate surgical approach or repair strategy.
- Hip arthroplasty