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Arthritis and Rheumatism

Sacroiliac Joint Disfunction



What is sacroiliac joint disfunction? Can arthritis cause it? What are its symproms and how is it diagnosed? Also, could it cause pain in the legs when standing, from nerve compression? Thank you so much.


Sacroiliac dysfunction is not necessarily an arthritis nor does it directly cause nerve compression. The sacroiliac joint is in the pelvis. They are the joints that connect the sacrum (lowest back bones) to the iliac portion of the pelvis. There are sacroiliac joints on each side of the sacrum. A typical individual with sacroiliac dysfunction is a women in her 30’s or 40’s who has had children. One hypothesis is that the sacroiliac ligamentous laxity resulting from pregnancy and childbirth may lead to loosening or shifting of the sacroiliac joints. Men may also develop sacroiliac dysfunction from trauma or heavy exertion.

Symptoms of sacroiliac dysfunction can include low back pain with radiation to the buttock, knee, or groin. Buttock pain may be secondary to piriformis syndrome that can be associated with sacroiliac dysfunction. The piriformis muscle helps to stabilize the sacroiliac joint. Due to the location of the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve, piriformis syndrome can mimic sciatic nerve symptoms. Thus, as mentioned above, sacroiliac dysfunction does not directly cause nerve compression but may indirectly cause sciatic nerve symptoms.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University