The sacroiliac joints, also known as the SI joints for short, are located between the pelvis and the lower part of the spine. There are two sacroiliac joints in the body. They are designed to help keep the body supported when you stand up. It’s also an important part of keeping your legs and abdomen fluidly connected during movement. Although these are joints, they have a relatively small range of motion compared to others. Women typically have slightly more joint mobility than men.
Just like with all other joints, it’s possible to experience pain and inflammation in the SI joint. It’s also a type of joint pain that is frequently experienced by people who are regular runners. If you’re someone who runs often and you experience pain in your pelvis, you may be dealing with SI joint pain. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of pain in the SI joints when running and how treatment from a physical therapist may be able to improve your symptoms.
What are the symptoms of SI joint pain?
There are a few types of symptoms that might become noticeable in those who are dealing with sacroiliac joint pain. The first of those is pain. SI joint pain can be felt in the pelvis, the lower back or the legs. If you’re an avid runner, you probably know how much SI joint pain can affect your ability to exercise, let alone perform daily activities. This particular type of joint pain can also cause tingling and numbness in the pelvis, lower back, or legs. While walking or running, people affected by this condition might even experience instability. Some people report feeling uncomfortable sitting or standing and having trouble staying seated for a long time. In some cases, those with SI joint pain might have trouble sleeping comfortably as well.
What are some causes of pain in the SI joints when running?
To gain a more in-depth understanding of why your SI joints are hurting you when you run, it's important to first discuss some of the potential causes. Take a look at some of the most common causes of sacroiliac joint pain when running, listed below:
- Sacroiliitis — Sacroiliitis is an inflammatory condition that can cause swelling and pain in the sacroiliac joint. This condition can have an effect on either one or both of your sacroiliac joints simultaneously.
- Arthritis — Arthritis is another condition that can affect your SI joints. It typically causes chronic inflammation and pain in the joints and may make running unpleasant, initially. However, if arthritis is the cause of your SI joint pain, running may be able to improve your symptoms. Regular movement and physical activity are some of the best treatments for arthritis. Continuing to run may reduce some of your stiffness and minimize pain.
- Overuse — Another potential cause of pain in your joints is overuse. If you frequently perform activities that place stress on your joints, you’re likely to increase your risk of developing joint inflammation. If the cause of your joint pain is running, you may need to give your body time to rest to reduce some of that inflammation and minimize the stress on your joints.
- Traumatic injury — Traumatic injury is another cause of SI joint pain. If you were involved in a car accident or sustained a running injury in the past, this could be the source of your discomfort when you run.
While there are several potential causes of SI joint pain, to determine why you are experiencing joint pain when running, it would be best to consult with a physical therapy professional. Physical therapists have extensive education and experience in dealing with patients who have this condition and similar other conditions. They can address your concerns and create a unique treatment plan designed specifically for you.
What are some of the treatments you can get during physical therapy for running-related SI joint pain?
- Gentle joint stretching — One type of treatment that you can get during physical therapy for joint pain when running is gentle joint stretching. Your physical therapist may elect to stretch your joints during your sessions to increase your range of motion.
- Joint mobilization — Another treatment method that your physical therapist may use during your sessions is called joint mobilization. It is intended to reduce pain and ease tension in the joints. This type of treatment may ultimately help you increase the flexibility in your SI joint when you run.
- Spinal decompression — Since your SI joint is connected to part of your spine, It may be helpful during treatment for you to undergo spinal decompression therapy. This method is designed to relieve some of the tension in your spine and may improve your joint function.
- Custom home exercise programs — Most physical therapy clinics can provide you with custom home exercise programs — a series of helpful exercises and movements that you can do on your own. Regularly performing at-home exercise may decrease your recovery time and get you back to running sooner.
Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness is ready to help you address your SI joint pain when running
Our team at Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness can offer you a unique and customized physical therapy experience. We value our patients so much that we strive to provide each one with a personalized treatment plan that caters to their individual lifestyles, habits and future goals. If you’re wondering why you’re feeling so much discomfort when you run, we can guide you through the treatment plan you need. Our team will work toward effectively managing your condition and helping you achieve the relief you’re looking for at any one of our several locations. We can help you perform the movements and exercises that will promote recovery and prevent future injury when running.
During our physical therapy sessions, our physical therapists will guide you through your treatment with the utmost care and focus, making sure that you’re completing your exercises with accuracy and efficiency for the best results.
Are you ready to take the first step toward running with less pain? Do you want to learn more about SI joint pain and how to find relief from it? Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.