What causes sacroiliac joint (SIJ) injuries?

Updated: Jan 16, 2019
  • Author: Andrew L Sherman, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Many patients state that their pain began spontaneously, whereas others can cite a specific inciting event. Bernard and Kirkaldy-Willis reported that 58% of patients diagnosed with SIJ pain based on clinical examination findings had some inciting traumatic injury. [3]

Many risk factors are associated with lower back pain, and many are directly associated with lumbar disk injury. These include, but are not limited to, smoking, poor physical condition, positive family history, and occupational lifting.

Factors that specifically increase the likelihood of mechanical injury to the SIJ have not been identified. Pregnancy is one particular condition attributed to SIJ dysfunction.

In the authors’ experience, certain biomechanical or muscle length imbalances may ultimately predispose a person to sacroiliac dysfunction and pain. Likely, this is a result of altered gait patterns and repetitive stress to the SIJ and related structures. These conditions exist in persons with leg-length inequality, scoliosis, a history of polio, poor-quality footwear, and hip osteoarthritis.

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