A modelling framework using the international Physiome Project is presented for evaluating the role of muscles on acetabular stress patterns in the natural hip. The novel developments include the following: (i) an efficient method for model generation with validation; (ii) the inclusion of electromyography-estimated muscle forces from gait; and (iii) the role that muscles play in the hip stress pattern. The 3D finite element hip model includes anatomically based muscle area attachments, material properties derived from Hounsfield units and validation against an Instron compression test. The primary outcome from this study is that hip loading applied as anatomically accurate muscle forces redistributes the stress pattern and reduces peak stress throughout the pelvis and within the acetabulum compared with applying the same net hip force without muscles through the femur. Muscle forces also increased stress where large muscles have small insertion sites. This has implications for the hip where bone stress and strain are key excitation variables used to initiate bone remodelling based on the strain-based bone remodelling theory. Inclusion of muscle forces reduces the predicted sites and degree of remodelling. The secondary outcome is that the key muscles that influenced remodelling in the acetabulum were the rectus femoris, adductor magnus and iliacus.Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.