Bones

Medically reviewed by Healthline Medical Team on March 31, 2015

The pelvic bone area is different in men and women. A man’s hip area is typically narrower than a woman’s, possibly because men evolved for maximum efficiency for running and traversing, something that came in handy during humans’ hunter–gatherer days. The bones in a woman’s pelvic area evolved to permit childbirth.

The pelvic bones not only help protect some organs, but also bear the weight of the upper body when a person sits or stands.

At birth, the hip bone consists of three separate bones but fuses into one after puberty. The bones are nearly symmetrical, and upon fusing are commonly referred to as the hip bones. Those three bones are:

  • Ilium: The largest part of the hip bone. The crest of the ilium is what people typically consider their hips as it can be seen protruding through the skin.
  • Pubis: This part is at the front of the bone closest to the genitals.
  • Ischium: Below the ilium and next to the pubis, this circular bone creates the lowermost portion of the hip bone.

Another bone, the sacrum, is located in the rear between the two ilia. It forms the base of the spinal column. At its bottom is the coccyx, more commonly known as the tailbone.

The pubic symphysis is the joint that connects the left and right hip bone.

The pelvic girdle is a ring of bones that works as a basin for several organs, including those in the digestive and reproductive systems. It acts as a connection point to the upper and lower body.

In the rear, the sacrum is the base of the spinal column. It is connected to what is commonly referred to as the pelvis, or hip bone. To the right and left are the hip joints where the legs join the upper body.

The cavity at the bottom of the hip bone — which looks like the silhouette of Mickey Mouse — houses the anus, major blood vessels, muscles, and internal reproductive organs. This area is also known as the pelvic cavity.

Because the pelvis plays such an important role in humans, a fracture of the pelvis is a painful experience with swelling and bruising. These fractures often occur in high-impact accidents such as car accidents or sporting- or work-related injuries and falls. However, with proper treatment and rehabilitation, many people recover from the injury without any long-term dysfunctions.

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