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The pelvic girdle, consisting of a hip bone, serves to attach a lower limb to the axial skeleton. The hip bone articulates posteriorly at the sacroiliac joint with the sacrum, which is part of the axial skeleton. The right and left hip bones converge anteriorly and articulate with each other at the pubic symphysis. The combination of the hip bone, the sacrum, and the coccyx forms the pelvis. The pelvis has a pronounced anterior tilt. The primary function of the pelvis is to support the upper body and transfer body weight to the lower limbs. It also serves as the site of attachment for multiple muscles.

The hip bone consists of three regions: the ilium, ischium, and pubis. The ilium forms the large, fan-like region of the hip bone. The superior margin of this area is the iliac crest. Located at either end of the iliac crest are the anterior superior and posterior superior iliac spines. Inferior to these are the anterior inferior and posterior inferior iliac spines. The auricular surface of the ilium articulates with the sacrum to form the sacroiliac joint. The medial surface of the upper ilium forms the iliac fossa, with the arcuate line marking the inferior limit of this area. The posterior margin of the ilium has the large greater sciatic notch.

The posterolateral portion of the hip bone is the ischium. It has the expanded ischial tuberosity, which supports body weight when sitting. The ischial ramus projects anteriorly and superiorly. The posterior margin of the ischium has the shallow lesser sciatic notch and the ischial spine, which separates the greater and lesser sciatic notches.

The pubis forms the anterior portion of the hip bone. The body of the pubis articulates with the pubis of the opposite hip bone at the pubic symphysis. The superior margin of the pubic body has the pubic tubercle. The pubis is joined to the ilium by the superior pubic ramus, the superior surface of which forms the pectineal line. The inferior pubic ramus projects inferiorly and laterally. The pubic arch is formed by the pubic symphysis, the bodies of the adjacent pubic bones, and the two inferior pubic rami. The inferior pubic ramus joins the ischial ramus to form the ischiopubic ramus. The subpubic angle is formed by the medial convergence of the right and left ischiopubic rami.

The lateral side of the hip bone has the cup-like acetabulum, which is part of the hip joint. The large anterior opening is the obturator foramen. The sacroiliac joint is supported by the anterior and posterior sacroiliac ligaments. The sacrum is also joined to the hip bone by the sacrospinous ligament, which attaches to the ischial spine, and the sacrotuberous ligament, which attaches to the ischial tuberosity. The sacrospinous and sacrotuberous ligaments contribute to the formation of the greater and lesser sciatic foramina.

The broad space of the upper pelvis is the greater pelvis, and the narrow, inferior space is the lesser pelvis. These areas are separated by the pelvic brim (pelvic inlet). The inferior opening of the pelvis is the pelvic outlet. Compared to the male, the female pelvis is wider to accommodate childbirth, has a larger subpubic angle, and a broader greater sciatic notch.

Watch this video for a 3-D view of the pelvis and its associated ligaments. What is the large opening in the bony pelvis, located between the ischium and pubic regions, and what two parts of the pubis contribute to the formation of this opening?

The obturator foramen is located between the ischium and the pubis. The superior and inferior pubic rami contribute to the boundaries of the obturator foramen.

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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