Before you begin reading this please take a moment to find your sitz bones, also knows as your ischial tuberosities. If you are sitting cross-legged they are going to be a little trickier to find, so come to sit on the front edge of a chair with your knees bent. Now wiggle a little side to side. Do you feel them now?
Now with the awareness of where your ischial tuberosities are come to stand. Where are they now? See if you can feel what happens to them when you move from standing towards a squat. Although it might feel odd to be palpating around your gluteus muscles (butt muscles) – you will learn a lot about anatomy and how the pelvis works by doing it.
Do you notice that the ischial tuberosities or sitz bones move further away from each other as you move towards a squat? This is why squats are so valuable when we want to make room in the pelvis for birthing and for bowel movements.
Are you starting to feel like this is too much information? It is interesting that we feel this way about our pelvis. We don’t feel this way about the heart and how blood gets pumped. So “sit” with that for a moment and we will bring out the anatomy of the pelvis diagram.
See where #3 is pointing to? This shows one ishial tuberosity – and if you look to the left – you can read that this is part of the ischium. So you have found your ishiums (the bottom of the hip bones).
Now let’s locate the top of the pelvis. Come to stand and bring your hands to your hips. Can you trace the highest point of your hip bones?
Do you have a guess of what they are called? Look for #2 on the diagram above if you would like a hint. Yes! You have found your ilium. The very top of these are called the iliac crests.
If this seems a bit confusing – it might help to know that the hip bone is made up of three bones (ilium, ishium and pubis) that were separated by cartilage at the time of your birth. These bones fused together in adulthood and are now known as your hip bones (or os coxae in anatomy terms). Anatomy lovers then go on to name various parts of bones (like crests and foramens). Just to make it more fun – names change or sometimes two “anatomy experts” don’t agree and therefore there are different names.
Take a deep breath. We are learning the basics and we want to have fun with it.
Next let’s locate the pubis bone. Without looking at the diagram – you might guess that is is near your pubic area. If you aren’t working in an office at this moment – use your hands to palpate your pubic bone.
Can you find your pubic symphysis? This is where the bones meet.
Now do a happy dance! You know all the bones that make up your hip bones!
You have likely heard of the sacrum and coccyx (or tailbone). Can you locate your coccyx? Did you know that the coccyx moves when a baby is going through the birth canal? This is why it is so important that a woman who is birthing isn’t lying on her back. The tailbone won’t be able to move and make room.
Last bone in the anatomy of the pelvis to find is the sacrum. Place your hands on your low back – below where your belt would go. If you move from stand to a forward fold with bent knees you will notice the sacrum and might even feel the sacroiliac joint. This is where the sacrum meets the ilium.
Look at #6 on the diagram. The Acetabulum is where the head of the leg bone (femur) goes. This is literally how the leg bone connects to the hip bone.
I believe it is time again for a happy hip dance. You now know the basic anatomy of the pelvis.
To see more about the anatomy of the pelvis and to get an appreciation for the anatomy language I have added a Kenhub video below.