The Human Pelvis: Variation in Structure and Function During Gait

Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2017 Apr;300(4):633-642. doi: 10.1002/ar.23552.


The shift to habitual bipedalism 4-6 million years ago in the hominin lineage created a morphologically and functionally different human pelvis compared to our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees. Evolutionary changes to the shape of the pelvis were necessary for the transition to habitual bipedalism in humans. These changes in the bony anatomy resulted in an altered role of muscle function, influencing bipedal gait. Additionally, there are normal sex-specific variations in the pelvis as well as abnormal variations in the acetabulum. During gait, the pelvis moves in the three planes to produce smooth and efficient motion. Subtle sex-specific differences in these motions may facilitate economical gait despite differences in pelvic structure. The motions of the pelvis and hip may also be altered in the presence of abnormal acetabular structure, especially with acetabular dysplasia. Anat Rec, 300:633-642, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: gait; hip; pelvic; pelvis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Pelvic Bones / physiology*
  • Pelvis / anatomy & histology*
  • Pelvis / physiology*