Sacroiliac Joint Pain and Dysfunction




Sacroiliac joint pain is an often overlooked, but important, source of back pain.

It is a common source of pain during pregnancy. About 20% of pregnant women develop SIJ pain during pregnancy. It is often short-lived but unfortunately in some it lasts longer. 

The SIJ is also a common source of pain for others and contributes to many types of problem. Injection studies show it to be the source of between 15-30% of buttock and leg pain and it can cause pain and pins and needles felt as far down as the foot. 

Sacroiliac joint problems can inhibit normal control of the pelvis, hip and leg. You might feel this as a weakness of hip or knee movement or poor balance or control. It may predispose to a range of conditions such as groin pain, hamstring injuries and knee pain.

Assessment and treatment of the SIJ and pelvis is a specialist area and one at which we excel.

We are fortunate at Wilmslow Physio to have two leading specialist in different aspects of SIJ pain

Helen Shepherd is a specialist women’s and pelvic health Physiotherapist. She has been clinical lead for Pelvic Health at Salford Royal Hospital for 24 years, treating both men and women. Read more about Helen here

Howard Turner is a specialist spinal physiotherapist who lecturers extensively on disorders of the sacroiliac joint and pelvis. Read more about Howard here


We use a specialist clinical assessment that has been proven to be accurate, but there are some signs that you can check yourself:

1. Sacroiliac problems don’t cause back pain. The pain may be in your buttock and groin or you can have referred pain and pins and needles down your leg, and sometimes it is felt in the foot. Of course, sometimes you can also have a back complaint which causes back pain. 

2. Usually, not always but usually, the main pain is over the joint itself – near the PSIS, a knob of bone that you will feel on either side of your sacrum at the base of your spine.

3. Usually, the area over the joint is tender to touch. Many back problems can also cause tenderness here but almost all cases of SIJ pain are accompanied by this tenderness.

4. You can see how your pain and function are changed by supporting the sacroiliac joint. Wrap a belt around your hips so that it passes over the SIJ at the back. Do the belt up tightly and see if it makes a difference to your pain, balance, strength and function. Sometimes small changes in its position will improve its affect. Specialist SIJ belts are available but any old belt will do to perform this test. A change – hopefully an improvement but also a worsening in pain and function – indicates that the sacroiliac joints and pelvis are involved. 


Sacroiliac Joint pain is usually centered over the joint, and the area is tender to touch.

Pain from the SIJ can also refer down the leg and be felt as far as the foot. Symptoms can include feelings of pins and needles and numbness.

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