Largest Locally Owned & Operated Physical Therapy Company in St. Louis

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

What is it?


The sacroiliac joint (SI joint) is the joint connecting the sacrum (triangle bone between the lower back and tailbone) and the ilium (hip). The purpose of this joint is to provide stability and support to the lower back and hips when walking, lifting, and living our day to day lives. SIJ dysfunction is classified as any irritation, inflammation, or pain located at or around the SI joints. 




This pain can be localized to the lower back or travel down the backs of the legs. Typically, SIJ pain does not travel lower than the knees. Some numbness/tingling can occur, but pain tends to be the most common symptom. 


What causes it?


SIJ dysfunction can be caused from too little or too much movement in the joint. Too little movement tends to result in localized pain around either the left or the right SI joint, whereas too much motion can result in pain in the lower back or down the legs. Acute inflammation in the SI joints can also cause pain and may be related to an acute injury or fall. 




A tailored, personalized approach to treating SIJ dysfunction is the best option, which can be evaluated by a Physical Therapists. A person’s posture, muscle strength, flexibility, and day to day tasks are all taken into consideration when creating a treatment plan to address SIJ dysfunction.

Examples of common exercises include: 

  • Single knee to chest: lay on your back and gently pull one knee towards your chest. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 10 repetitions on each leg
  • Figure four stretch: Lay on your back. Bend your knees bringing your feet toward your bottom. Cross one foot over one knee. Raise knee that has foot placed over it up to a 90 degree angle. Pull knee towards your chest to increase the stretch. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times on each leg. 
  • Clamshells: lay on your side with your knees bent. Keeping your feet together, raise your top knee up. Do not let your hips/pelvis roll backwards. Repeat 15-20 times on each side. 


If you suspect you are having SIJ pain or other related low back pain, seek treatment from a Physical Therapist to complete an evaluation and develop a personalized approach to relieving your pain!


Author: Alex Booher, PT DPT

To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists call a location near you today!