the Hip and Knee Movement Analysis

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Hip and Knee Movement Analysis

Running is one of the basic innate activities done daily as a form of exercise or defence. It is aimed at building strong bones, strengthening of muscles, improving cardiovascular activities as well as burning calories therefore improves overall health of the body. It utilises both the skeletal, nervous and muscular systems. Running is a forward forceful movement that involves bending of one knee to a nearly perpendicular angle followed by extension in front of the body, and landing on the heel underneath the body, with simultaneous backward vertical flexion of the other limb at 120 degrees.

The major joints involved during the entire process of running are the hip and knee joints. The hip joint is a diarthrosis joint classified as a ball and socket joint, with the greater trochanter, which is the convex hemispherical femoral head articulating with the pelvic acetabulum that is a socket-like depression. The main hip movements involved are flexion, extension, abduction, adduction and rotation. During running there is backward flexion of the knees with a 120 degree flexion of the hip joint. The knee joint is a synovial joint that is hinge-like consisting of articulation between the surfaces of the patella, femur and tibia, referred to as the tibiofemoral and patellofemoral articulations. Movements permitted by the knee joint during running are extension, flexion and rotation.

Some of the muscles of the lower limb act in an opposite manner during movement with some flexing as others extend, thus the reference as agonists for contractile muscles and antagonists for muscles that relax or lengthen during motion. During extension of the leg while running, the superficial gluteal muscles act as antagonists to the hip flexors. The gluteal muscles comprise of 3 muscles, gluteal maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus that eccentrically contract. Gluteal maximus originates from the back of the sacrum, coccyx and sacrotuberous ligament with its insertion into the iliotibial tract and gluteal tuberosity, gluteal minimus originates from the middle part of the gluteal surface of the ileum and inserts onto the lateral aspect of the greater trochanter and the gluteal minimus originates from the anterior part of the gluteal surface of the ileum and inserts on the anterior part of the greater trochanter. The hip flexor muscles consists of 5 muscles that concentrically contract and are responsible for flexion of the hip joint: sartorius originates from the anterior superior iliac spine and inserts onto the medial aspect of the tibia, pectineus originates from the superficial pubis ramus and inserts onto the posterior aspect of the femur, the iliacus originates from the iliac fossa and attaches to the lesser trochanter of the femur, the psoas major originates from the 12th thoracic vertebrae and lumbar vertebrae and inserts onto the lesser trochanter, and the rectus femoris (A branch of the quadriceps femoris) originates from the anterior inferior iliac spine and inserts onto the patella to the tibial tuberosity via the patella ligament.

The hamstring muscles are flexor muscles that function through flexion of the knee joint and extension of the hip joint. They that act as agonists to the quadriceps muscles and are found on the posterior part of the thigh: semitendinosus, semimembranosus and the biceps femoris. The semitendinosus and semimebranosus both originate from the ischial tuberosity with the former inserting on the medial part of the tibia and the latter on the medial condyle of the tibia. The long head of the biceps femoris originates from the ischial tuberosity and the short head from the linea aspera with both inserting onto the fibula head. The hamstring muscles eccentrically and concentrically contract during motion. The quadriceps femoris muscles function concentrically and are responsible for the extension of the knee joint. However during running down a slope, it will eccentrically contract to prevent collapse of the knee joint. It comprises of the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis that originate from the posterior part of the femur and vastus intermedialis from the anterior shaft of the femur with their instertions onto the patella to the tibial tuberosity through the patella ligament.

The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles are superficial posterior muscles that are agonists to the tibialis anterior. The 2 agonist muscles act through plantar flexion of the ankle joint with the gastrocnemius muscle originating from the lateral condyle of the femur and inserting on the posterior aspect of the calcaneus bone and the soleus muscle originating from the shaft of the fibula and tibia and inserting onto the same region. It’s concentric in motion. Tibialis anterior contracts eccentrically and acts through plantar flexion of the ankle joint and inversion of the foot. It originates from the proximal lateral surface of the tibial shaft and interosseous membrane and inserts on the medial cuneiform bone and the ventral aspect of the 1st metatarsal. It eccentrically contracts during running.


Sports Training Village, (2020) How to Run Properly. YouTube.