Sacroiliac Joint Disorders

Like any other joint in the body, the sacroiliac (SI) joint can become arthritic or its support ligaments can become loose or injured. When this happens, people can feel pain in their buttock and sometimes even well above their buttock and higher on the skeleton. This is especially true with lifting, running, walking or even sleeping on the involved side.

It is important to note that on occasion, patients who have not had symptomatic relief from lumbar spine surgery may actually have had other issues to begin with. This could include the SI joint, the hip, the spine separately or any combination of these three pain generators.

Sacroiliac Joint Anatomy And Fuction

The sacroiliac joint is located in the pelvis, linking the iliac bone (pelvis) to the sacrum (lowest part of the spine above the tailbone). This joint transfers weight and forces between your upper body and legs. It is an essential component for shock absorption to prevent impact forces during walking from reaching the spine.

The sacroiliac joint is stabilized by a network of ligaments and muscles, which also limit motion. The normal sacroiliac joint has a small amount of normal motion of approximately 2-4 mm of movement in any direction. The sacroiliac ligaments in women are less stiff than in men, allowing the mobility necessary for childbirth.

Illustration of the anterior anatomy of the pelvis.

Illustration of the anterior anatomy of the pelvis.


Illustration of the posterior anatomy of the pelvis with ligaments, nerves and selected muscles.

Illustration of the posterior anatomy of the pelvis with ligaments, nerves and selected muscles.

POSSIBLE CAUSES

  • Degeneration of the SI joint: degenerative sacroiliitis
  • Disruption of the SI joint: SI joint disruption, SI joint laxity
  • Congenital problems: sacral dysplasia
  • Inflammation of the SI joint: ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter’s syndrome, or associated with inflammatory bowel disease
  • Fracture
  • Acute or chronic infection
  • Bone disease: hyperostosis, sickle cell anemia
  • Tumor: benign or malignant

SYMPTOMS

  • Pain from sacroiliac joint disorders can be felt anywhere in the low back, buttocks, or in the legs.
  • Low back pain (below L5)
  • Pelvis/buttock pain
  • Hip/groin pain
  • Lower extremity pain (numbness, tingling, weakness)
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Leg instability
  • Sitting problems

Service Providers

Henry Small, M.D.

Dr. Small is a board certified orthopedic surgeon. He has 23 years of experience.

Vivek P. Kushwaha, M.D.

Dr. Kushwaha has been honored with the Memorial Hermann Hospital Award for “Most Efficient Surgeon” and was commended as one of “America’s Top Physicians” by The Consumer Research Council of America.