Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a term used to describe the pain of the sacroiliac joint (SI joint). It is usually caused by abnormal motion (i.e. hyper- or hypo-mobile) or malalignment of the sacroiliac joint. Sacroiliac joint syndrome is a significant source of pain in 15% to 30% of people with mechanical low back pain.
Clinically Relevant Anatomy
The sacroiliac joints are located on each side of the spine between the two pelvic bones, which attach to the sacrum. The main function within the pelvic girdle is to provide shock absorption for the spine and to transmit forces between the upper body and the lower limbs. The SI joint experiences forces of shearing, torsion, rotation, and tension. Ambulation is heavily impacted by the SI joint, as this is the only orthopaedic joint connecting the upper body to our lower body. The joint is a relatively stiff synovial joint filled with synovial fluid. The bones of the sacrum and ilium are coated in hyaline cartilage at their articular surfaces with dense fibrous tissue connecting the ilium and the sacrum. SI joints typically only have a few degrees of motion.
Injuries to the sacroiliac joint can occur from various etiologies.
Approximately 90% of the population will at some experience or present to the clinic with some form of low back pain/pathology. About 10% to 25% of these patients are thought to be experiencing pain from the SI joint. The majority of SI joint pathologies affect the adult patient population.
Symptoms of sacroiliac joint syndrome are often difficult to distinguish from other types of low back pain. This is why making a diagnosis of sacroiliac joint syndrome is very difficult.
The most common symptoms include:
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