Characterisation and classification of the neural anatomy in the human hip joint

Hip Int. 2012 Jan-Feb;22(1):75-81. doi: 10.5301/HIP.2012.9042.


Hip arthroscopy remains a useful surgical intervention for labral injuries. The literature has predominantly focused on structural and vascular considerations of the hip joint, with few studies examining the neurohistology of the surrounding periarticular tissues. We mapped and identified the periarticular neural anatomy, to identify the presence of sensory nerve fibres and mechanoreceptors within the hip joint. Eight human cadaveric hips were dissected into a total of ten specimens per hip. Histological staining was used to identify neural structures taken from the superolateral, anterior, inferior, and posterior positions of the hip joint. The frozen sections were analyzed by light microscopy to calculate relative concentrations of mean neural fibres per high power field (mnf/hpf). Neural end organs were found in the hip capsule, acetabular labrum, ligamentum teres and transverse acetabular ligament. The highest levels of mechanoreceptors were found in the superolateral aspect of the hip capsule (9.6 mnf/hpf). The labrum showed highest levels of sensory fibres (3.4 mnf/hpf) and mechanoreceptors (4.3mnf/hpf) within the anterior zone. Sensory fibres and mechanoreceptors densely populate the acetabular labrum, capsule and transverse acetabular ligament. The anterior zone of the labrum contained the highest relative concentration of sensory fibres, specifically Ruffini corpuscles.

MeSH terms

  • Acetabulum / anatomy & histology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadaver
  • Cartilage, Articular / innervation
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Joint Capsule / innervation
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / cytology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / anatomy & histology*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / cytology*