Sacroiliac Joint Pain Locations

Written on:September 12, 2012
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Most Common Pain Locations of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction symptoms are normally described as a patient having low back pain. As this may be the most common symptom, an SI joint pain sufferer may feel pain from multiple areas. Not only do these pain areas extend all the way down to the leg and foot, but pain may radiate in the front of the hip as well.

In 2004, Dr. Paul Dreyfuss published an article titled “Sacroiliac Joint Pain” in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon. This article revealed that SI joint pain is not solely derived from low back pain symptoms. In fact, SI joint problems are very difficult to diagnosis because there are a multitude of possible pain locations.

SI Joint Pain Patterns:

  • Only 4% of patients with SI joint pain self report pain above the L5 vertebrae
  • Referral of lower leg pain is complicated since SI joint pain may overlap with other conditions
  • For example, in some cases pain below the knee was as common with SI joint pain as with other sources

SI Joint Pain Locations:

These pain locations are from a group of 54 patients with confirmed SI joint problems:

  • 94% – pain in the buttocks
  • 48% – pain in the thigh
  • 28% – pain in the lower leg
  • 14% – pain in the groin
  • 13% – pain in the ankle or foot
  •  2% – pain in the abdomen

For a handy diagram reference, see the main picture in this post (click to enlarge). The most common pain areas are marked with a 4+ and 3+. These areas are lower left and lower right back pain, left and right buttock pain, and the front left and front right thigh pain. Less common areas are the groin, ankles, feet, knees, and abdomen.

Pain referral areas of the SI joint are not the primary way to diagnose for SI joint dysfunction, however it is useful in ruling out other pain conditions. As a general rule for 96% of SI joint dysfunction patients, if your pain is above the L5 vertebrae then it is unlikely that the SI joint is a major generator of your pain. However, check with your physician to determine the proper diagnosis of your low back pain… or thigh pain, or lower leg pain.

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