SI Joint Pain Altered Walking Pattern

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Are altered walking patterns to Blame for Your SI Joint Pain?

Altered walking patterns can negatively impact the motion of the SI (sacroiliac) joints. Because of the changes in balance and uneven distribution of body weight, altered walking patterns can generate both excessive wear and tear and inflammation of the SI joints. This can lead to long term SI joint dysfunction.

Understanding Altered Walking Patterns as a Cause of SI Joint Pain

In order to understand how altered walking patterns can impact the SI joints, it is useful to take a look at where the joints are and how they are designed to perform. The sacroiliac joints form at the points where the sacrum region of the spine and the two ilium (hip) bones meet, one on the left and one on the right side of the spine. The two ilium bones are the major structures of the pelvis. The SI joints play a major role in supporting the upper body and helping to transmit motion through the hips and legs. There are several components to the SI joints, each of which is subject to uneven pressures that can cause friction, inflammation, and long term wear and tear.

The SI joints are basically opposing bony surfaces covered by cartilage and bound together by extremely strong ligaments. By design, SI joints have a narrow range of movement. Any damage to the cartilage of the SI joints makes them susceptible to the erosive effects of altered walking patterns.

There are a variety of conditions that can create altered walking patterns and impact the health of the SI joints. Leg length discrepancy can put uneven and undue stress on either one or both of the SI joints. Spinal abnormalities such as scoliosis can alter a person’s gait and put undue pressure on the SI joints. Osteoarthritis of the hip can cause a person to favor one side of the body over the other. This can lead to an imbalance in a person’s walking pattern and uneven pressures on one side or the other. How the foot contacts the ground during each step a person takes affects the forces that are transmitted up the leg and into the pelvis and spine. Something as simple as a flimsy pair of shoes can create undue stress on the SI joints.

Altered walking patterns create a condition known as hyper-mobility of the joint. Hyper-mobility simply means high movement. The ligaments that hold the SI joints together stretch out and become more elastic. This can cause undue friction within the joint, misalignment of the bones, uneven wear, and subsequent pain. There are also many nerves in proximity to the SI joints that can become irritated and painful. The range of pain can vary from dull to acute.

SI joint pain can express itself on either the left or right side of the lower back. SI joint dysfunction can produce pain in the buttocks, groin, and thighs as well.

Altered walking patterns are just one of the many ways the SI joints can suffer wear and tear, inflammation, cartilage damage, and overall deterioration of mobility. If you are experiencing symptoms of pain in the lower back, get in touch with a medical expert in spine health. Early diagnosis and treatment of SI joint dysfunction can slow progression of the disease, relieve low back pain, and help to restore healthy joint function.

Tips for Preventing and Managing SI Joint Pain at Home

  • Regular stretching and exercise can help prevent and ease low back pain.
  • When lifting heavy objects, use your legs for leverage, not your back.
  • Walk cautiously and wear shoes with good traction when walking on slippery surfaces.
  • When carrying something, be sure to distribute its weight evenly, not favoring one side.
  • Consult a spine specialist for severe low back pain that hasn’t resolved with conservative methods in a few weeks.

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