Sacroiliac pain running is a common symptomatic citation for conditions that are not severe during normal day to day movement, but are exacerbated by strenuous physical activity. Running is one of the most vigorous of all human fitness activities, pushing the body to its limits in terms of cardiovascular function, impact resistance and metabolic activity. Running is also a major stressor on the joints of the body and the sacroiliac joint is certainly no exception to this rule.
Some sacroiliac joint pain conditions begin their symptomatic activity only when stressed. Running will absolutely provide the degree of stress necessary to incite even the mildest forms of sacroiliac pain syndromes. Therefore, patients who are in the early stages of SIJ disorders often begin to experience their first symptoms when running.
This essay explores the occurrence of pain during running in one or both sacroiliac joints. We will detail why running places so much pressure on the joint, as well as what running-related pain might mean for overall patients functionality.
Sacroiliac Pain Running Symptoms
Regardless of whether a patient is an avid runner or simply likes to participate in running-related activities and sports, their symptoms can be identical in expression. As noted above, pain when running or when participating in athletic endeavors is often an early warning sign of sacroiliac joint problems, although it can also be indicative of a wide range of other possible diagnoses, including hip and lower spinal issues.
Most patients will suffer sensitivity to impact pressure, with pain being felt in the upper inner hip region or deep in the buttocks. Some patients will experience pain during their running stride. Pain might be present when the lead foot lands or when the foot pushes off the ground to continue the running motion. Other patients suffer pain when running patterned movements, such a lateral motion and when making turns while running. This latter symptom is often seen in sports participants, such as track and field, basketball, football, rugby and soccer athletes.
Pain might be acute or achy. Some patients suffer referred pain into the spine, while others might suffer radiating pain in the leg. Pseudo-sciatica is a possible consequence of running with a compromised sacroiliac joint.
Causes of SIJ Pain from Running
Runners are susceptible to many musculoskeletal pain syndromes, including those affecting the feet, ankles, knees, hips, sacroiliac and spine. This is one of the reasons why correctly ascertaining the actual cause of pain can be very difficult, as well as the reason why misdiagnosis is such a terribly common occurrence in the musculoskeletal medicine sector.
For sacroiliac-specific pain syndromes, there can be many causes of pain. Runners are highly susceptible to developing ligament-related dysfunction of the SI joint, often suffering from either hyperlaxity or excessive tension in the joint. Sometimes both conditions exist simultaneously in the 2 bilateral joints. Runners also usually experience excessive and early degeneration of the sacroiliac joint that might lead to painful problems in very rare instances.
We detail all of the possible origins and contributors to SIJ symptoms in our dedicated section covering the causes of sacroiliac joint pain.
Sacroiliac Pain Running Prognosis
Patients who have pain when running should pay attention to their bodies and seek diagnostic evaluation. As mentioned above, sometimes running-related symptomology is an advance warning sign of worse problems to come if treatment is not rendered. In these cases, early intervention can stop these problems in their tracks, reversing the pain causing mechanism before it can become an every day issue.
Runners might have to take some time off in order to properly treat and rehabilitate compromise joints. However, most of the time, this process will involve exercises and stretches that will keep the person active and engaged, preventing them from falling into a dangerous, sedentary lifestyle.
Some SI joint degeneration conditions and autoimmune disease processes might curtail vigorous activities like running indefinitely. In these cases, patients must accept certain limits to their physical activity, especially if they have reached an advanced age.
It should be mentioned that many sacroiliac joint pain syndromes are actually disguised mindbody conditions that have not yet been identified for their true psychosomatic nature. These conditions are incredibly commonplace in athletic people and often relate to fears of performance and deeply held insecurities over competition. However, other people might experience psychogenic pain when performing athletically for reasons not related to the activity at all.
Since the rate of sacroiliac joint misdiagnosis is upwards of 50%, we strongly caution patients with running-related symptoms to investigate the possibility of mindbody pain in tandem with their traditional diagnostic and treatment efforts. Failure to do so will statistically damn about half of all patients to suffering unneeded treatment and possible functional disability for no structural reason at all, when all along the pain could be cured using an effective and risk-free psychoemotional approach like that offered by knowledge therapy.