Running is a popular way to get in shape, and it gives a lot of people a sense of joy and achievement. But it can also cause a number of injuries and pains, such as SI joint pain. The sacroiliac (SI) joint, which is between the sacrum and the ilium bones of the pelvis, is a key part of how the upper body and legs work together when running. SI joint pain can have a big effect on a runner’s performance and health as a whole.
This thorough review aims to explain SI joint pain in runners in detail, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, ways to prevent it, and ways to deal with it. By shedding light on this topic, we hope to give runners the information and tools they need to deal with SI joint pain and keep running, which is something they love to do.
2. How to Know About the SI Joint
Before talking about SI joint pain, it’s important to know how the SI joint looks and what it does. The SI joint is a diarthrodial joint, which means it can only move in a limited way. Its main job is to keep the pelvis stable and help weight-bearing activities, like running, transfer power effectively. The joint is held together by strong ligaments, and it is surrounded by muscles that help keep it in place.
3. Why runners have pain in the SI joint
Runners’ SI joint pain can be caused by a number of things. Overuse injuries can happen because running is repeated and puts a lot of force on the SI joint. Some of the most common reasons for SI joint pain are:
– Muscle Imbalances: Weak gluteal muscles or tight hip flexors are two examples of muscle imbalances that can change the way the SI joint works and cause pain and problems.
– Biomechanical Problems: Bad running form, wrong foot strike patterns, or different leg lengths can put too much stress on the SI joint, causing pain and swelling.
– Training Mistakes: Increasing the number of miles you run too quickly, changing the surface you run on too quickly, or not getting enough rest and healing time can overload the SI joint and cause pain and discomfort.
People who have had accidents to their lower back or pelvis in the past may be more likely to get SI joint pain while running.
– Pregnancy: When a woman is pregnant, her hormones change and her joints become more loose. This can cause pain in the SI joints.
4. What’s wrong and how to tell?
For a quick evaluation and the right treatment, it is important to know what the signs and symptoms of SI joint pain are. When runners have pain in their SI joints, they may experience the following:
- Pain in the buttocks, hips, groyne, or lower back, which often moves down the back of the thigh.
- Discomfort when running, especially when going up or down hills, running on uneven surfaces, or doing tasks that require the hips to move over and over again.
- Stiffness and pain in the area of the SI joint, especially after sitting or resting for a long time.
To figure out what’s causing SI joint pain, doctors usually do a full evaluation, which may include a detailed medical history and a physical test. They may ask when the symptoms started, how long they’ve been going on, and how bad they are. They may also ask about any past injuries or underlying conditions. During the physical checkup, certain tests may be done to check how mobile the SI joint is, how strong the muscles are, and how stable the joint is.
In addition to the physical exam, X-rays, MRI scans, or CT scans may be ordered to learn more about the SI joint and the structures around it. These imaging tests can help figure out if the SI joint pain is caused by any internal problems, inflammation, or wear and tear.
It’s important to know that SI joint pain can be hard to identify because its symptoms can look like those of other conditions, like a herniated disc or a problem with the hip joint. So, it’s important to talk to a doctor who specialises in musculoskeletal injuries or a sports medicine doctor. They can give an exact diagnosis and suggest the best way to treat the injury.
5. Choices for treatments
When it comes to treating runners’ SI joint pain, there are a number of choices, from less invasive ones to more invasive ones. The best treatment relies on how bad the symptoms are, what’s causing them, and what the person wants. Here are some of the most popular ways to treat:
5.1 Measures to Save Money
At first, doctors and nurses usually suggest simple ways to deal with SI joint pain. These steps are meant to reduce pain and inflammation, help the body heal, and improve the SI joint’s general stability and function. Some choices for conservative treatment are:
Rest and Activity Modification: Temporarily cutting back on or changing running activities to give the SI joint time to heal and stop the pain from getting worse.
– Ice and heat therapy: Putting ice packs or heat pads on the area can help reduce pain and swelling.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Painkillers and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can be bought over the counter.
– Assistive Devices: Using crutches, braces, or supportive belts can help keep the SI joint stable and supported while doing physical tasks.
For runners with SI joint pain, physical treatment is a key part of getting better. A skilled physical therapist can make a personalised treatment plan that works on muscle imbalances, makes joints more stable, and improves the body’s functioning as a whole. Interventions in physical therapy could include:
– Therapeutic Exercises: These are exercises that are designed to strengthen the muscles around the SI joint, make the core more stable, and fix any weaknesses.
Manual therapy is when a physical therapist uses his or her hands to do things like joint mobilisation or soft tissue mobilisation to make joints move better and relieve pain.
– Modalities: Using tools like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or cold laser treatment to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and help tissues heal.
5.3 Taking Medicines
In some cases, doctors may recommend painkillers to help with pain in the SI joint. Some of these medicines are:
– Muscle relaxants: These are given to stop muscle spasms and help the muscles around the SI joint rest.
– Injections of corticosteroids: Injections of corticosteroids into the SI joint can help lower inflammation and temporarily relieve pain.
– Topical analgesics: Analgesic creams, gels, or patches can be put on the skin to relieve pain in a specific area.
5.4 Getting shots
People who have pain in their SI joints that won’t go away no matter what they do may want to get a shot. These shots can help relieve pain in specific areas and reduce swelling. Most shots for SI joint pain are of the following types:
– Steroid Injections: These are similar to corticosteroid injections in that they put a strong anti-inflammatory medicine straight into the SI joint.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections: In PRP injections, a concentrated solution made from the patient’s own blood is used. This solution includes growth factors that help the body heal and grow new tissue. PRP injections can help speed up the SI joint’s natural mending process.
When conservative methods like injections and physical therapy don’t work, surgery may be the last option. Surgery to treat SI joint pain is usually only done in serious cases or when there is a structural problem that is causing the pain. Some choices for surgery are:
– SI Joint Fusion: In this process, the sacrum and ilium bones are fused together to keep the SI joint stable and relieve pain.
– Decortication: In some cases, the joint surfaces of the SI joint may be de-nerved or partly removed to block pain signals.
Runners who have pain in their SI joints should know that surgery is usually the last measure and not the first choice for treatment. When deciding whether or not to have surgery, a person should talk to a medical worker and think about their own situation and goals.
6. How to stop and handle
Runners who have had SI joint pain or want to avoid it at all costs need to know how to prevent and treat it. Taking the following steps can help stop SI joint pain from happening or coming back:
6.1 Exercises to warm up and cool down
Before running, you should do a good warm-up routine to get your body ready for the physical demands of running. Dynamic stretches, mobility routines, and light cardio can help improve blood flow, loosen muscles, and make it easier to move your joints. In the same way, using static stretching and foam rolling as part of a cool-down exercise after running can help muscles recover and loosen up.
6.2 Getting stronger and loosening up
When you run, strengthening the muscles around the SI joint, especially the gluteal muscles, can help keep the joint stable and supported. Also, stretching exercises that focus on the hips, hamstrings, and hip flexors should be done regularly to improve flexibility and avoid muscle imbalances.
6.3 The Right Way to Run and How to Do It
To keep the SI joint from getting too stressed, it’s important to run with the right form and method. This means keeping a straight back, not leaning too far forwards, and making sure your feet hit the ground in the right way. Working with a running teacher or other knowledgeable person can help you learn important things about how to run better.
6.4 How to Choose Shoes
Wearing running shoes with enough support, cushioning, and stability can help spread out the force and lessen the pressure on the SI joint. You should go to a running store or talk to a professional to get measured for the right shoes based on your biomechanics and the way you run.
6.5 Days of Cross-Training and Rest
Cross-training with activities like swimming, cycling, or strength training can help make the body work in different ways and lower the risk of injuries from overuse. Also, you need to give the SI joint and the muscles around it enough time to heal and get stronger by giving yourself enough rest and recovery days between runs.
7. Positive outlook on running with SI joint pain and benefits
SI joint pain can be hard for runners, but it’s important to keep a positive attitude and think about the good things running can do. Running has many mental, social, and physical benefits, such as:
Cardiovascular health: Running is a great cardiovascular workout that strengthens the heart, improves blood flow, and makes the heart and lungs stronger overall.
Weight Management: Running regularly can help you control your weight and keep your body in shape because it burns calories and speeds up your metabolism.
Endorphins, also called “feel-good” hormones, are released when you run, which has been shown to relieve stress, improve happiness, and improve mental health.
Bone health: Running is a weight-bearing exercise that helps increase bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Strength and Endurance of Muscles: Running uses many muscle groups, such as the legs, core, and upper body, which makes muscles stronger and last longer.
Setting and reaching running goals can boost self-confidence, give a sense of achievement, and improve overall self-esteem.
– Community and social connections: Joining a running group or running in a race can give you the chance to meet other runners and get support from them.
Runners with SI joint pain can still enjoy the many benefits of running as long as they use the right techniques to deal with the pain, get advice from a professional, and keep a positive attitude.
8. Questions that are often asked (FAQ)
Q: I have pain in my SI joint. Can I still run?
A: Most runners with pain in their SI joints can keep running with the right adjustments and care. You should talk to a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and advice on how to deal with the pain so you can keep running and reach your goals.
Q: Can running make pain in the SI joints worse?
A: Running can make SI joint pain worse if the right measures and changes aren’t made. But if you use the right training methods, do building exercises, and pay attention to your body, running can still be safe and fun even if you have SI joint pain.
Q: Are there certain exercises that can help ease the pain in my SI joints?
A: Yes, there are several workouts that can help strengthen the muscles around the SI joint and relieve pain. Some of these movements are bridges, clamshells, hip abduction, and core stability. Working with a physical therapist or a trained fitness professional can make sure that you are doing the exercises properly and safely.
Q: When should I have surgery for pain in my SI joint?
A: Surgery is usually only thought of as a last option for SI joint pain when other treatments haven’t helped. It is best to look into non-surgical options first and talk to a doctor who specialises in SI joint problems to find out if surgery is necessary for your case.
SI joint pain is a regular problem for runners, but it is manageable and can be cured with the right knowledge, diagnosis, and treatment. Runners can continue to enjoy the many physical, mental, and social benefits of running by taking precautions, getting the right medical advice, and keeping a positive attitude.
Remember that everyone’s SI joint pain is different, so it’s important to pay attention to your body, talk to a professional, and make smart choices about your running routine. Runners can get rid of SI joint pain and keep doing what they love by being committed, persistent, and taking a complete approach to treatment and prevention.
This article is only for informational reasons and shouldn’t be used in place of advice from a doctor. If you have SI joint pain or any other kind of illness, you should talk to a doctor to get a proper evaluation and treatment.