Difference Between Hip and Knee Joints

Difference Between Hip and Knee Joints

The hip and knee joints are two of the most important joints in our bodies, supporting us in a variety of activities. Despite their importance, they’re quite different from each other, both structurally and functionally. With this in mind, we want to explore some of the biggest differences in this guide.

Structurally, the hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint composed of the thigh bone (femur) and the pelvic bone (acetabulum). The ball of the femur fits snugly into the socket of the acetabulum, allowing for a wide range of motion. In contrast, the knee joint is a hinge joint composed of three bones – the femur, tibia, and patella; this allows for movement only back and forth, but not sideways.

Functionally, the hips are primarily used for stability and balance, both when standing and walking. The knee joint supports the body’s weight when in motion and is key for providing support during activities like running and jumping.

The hip joint is also much more resistant to injury than the knee joint, as it is protected by a thick layer of cartilage, whereas the knee joint is more vulnerable to injury due to its thin layer of protective cartilage. In addition, because the hip joint can move in many different directions, it’s much less likely to become “locked up” or stiff than the knee joint.

Finally, the hip joint is also much better at absorbing shock than the knee joint due to its structure and design. The hips can also absorb shock more effectively because of their wide range of motion; this makes them ideal for activities like running or jumping that involve a lot of movement and impact on the joints.

Overall, the hip joint is far more durable and robust than the knee joint; it is better able to withstand the wear and tear of everyday activities, as well as an intense athletic activity. It also has a much lower risk of injury or damage due to its thicker layer of cartilage and a wider range of motion.

Common Hip Injuries

Despite typically being the stronger of the two, Melbourne’s orthopaedic surgeons still see many cases of hip injuries due to its wider range of motion. Commonly seen hip conditions and injuries include labral tears, degenerative joint disease, and snapping hip syndrome.

In terms of treatments, hip injuries can be managed in a variety of ways, ranging from physical therapy to minimally invasive surgery. Depending on the severity of the injury and how long it has been present, surgeons will recommend the best course of action for each individual patient.

Common Knee Injuries

The knee is much more vulnerable than the hip due to its narrow range of motion and lessened ability to absorb shock, as we’ve seen. Common knee injuries include ACL and meniscus tears, patellar tendonitis, patellar femoral pain syndrome, and osteoarthritis.

This time, treatment is a bit more varied and can include physical therapy, medications, injections, and even surgery. If a patient is dealing with significant pain or swelling caused by an injury, surgery may be recommended to repair any damage done.


Overall, the hip and knee are vastly different joints that experience different types of injuries. It’s important to understand the differences between them to properly treat any pain or discomfort that can occur. The hip has a limited range of motion and injuries occur due to its structure, while the knee is more prone to overuse injuries because of its greater range of motion.