SI joint pain and high-impact sports participation

Traumas sustained during certain sports are a known cause of sacroiliac, or SI, joint pain. The SI joint, which is located between the sacrum at the base of the spine and the pelvis, can be easily damaged during contact sports, especially when an individual falls or lands heavily on his or her buttocks. The joint itself can sustain the injury, or the damage may involve the ligaments that support the joint. In either situation, dull pain, radiating pain or groin pain may occur as a result.

If you’re an athlete trying to prevent or treat SI joint pain, the following information can help you better understand the condition and the full range of treatments available. While there is no way to completely prevent SI joint pain, knowing about the risk factors and safety measures for athletes can give you a better chance of staying healthy and active.

Sports that can lead to an SI joint injury

Many different sports-related injuries can cause a sudden trauma to the SI joint, which can in turn lead to pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. Some examples include:

  • A hockey player might sustain SI joint damage when another player shoves him or her into the boards
  • A football player might injure his or her SI joint when they are tackled (or if they collide with another player on the field, resulting in a fall)
  • An ice skater or gymnast might hurt his or her SI joint after an improper landing

If any impact is sustained during participation in sports it is always recommended to see a doctor to get checked out, even if it doesn’t seem serious.

Treatments for athletes with an SI joint injury

When an athlete injures his or her SI joint, a doctor will often recommend treatments like anti-inflammatory medications, heat or ice therapy or a therapeutic sports massage to manage the pain. While recovering from an SI joint injury, athletes will also be instructed to stop participating in high-impact activities and will often be instructed in physical therapy exercises to help their bodies recover.

If these and other conservative methods don’t improve symptoms enough to resume normal activity, patients with sports-induced SI joint injuries may eventually consider surgical treatment. If you have been recommended for surgery to treat SI joint pain, but are concerned about the risks and difficulties of a hospital-based traditional open spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute.

Our highly skilled surgeons perform a minimally invasive SI joint fusion surgery that is an alternative to traditional hospital-based procedures. By using a small, muscle-sparing incision, our procedures offer patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period^ compared to traditional open spine procedures.

To learn more, reach out to us today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures.