What Causes Pain in the Iliac Crest: Uncovering the Culprits

what causes pain in the iliac crest


Pain in the iliac crest can be a debilitating condition that affects many individuals. The iliac crest is the curved ridge located on the top of the pelvic bone, and when it becomes painful, it can greatly impact daily activities. In this article, we will explore the various culprits that can cause pain in the iliac crest and provide insights into how to alleviate this discomfort.

1. Muscle Strain

One common cause of pain in the iliac crest is muscle strain. This occurs when the muscles surrounding the iliac crest, such as the gluteus medius or the tensor fasciae latae, are overused or subjected to excessive force. Activities like running, jumping, or sudden twisting motions can lead to muscle strain, resulting in pain in the iliac crest area.

2. Hip Bursitis

Hip bursitis is another culprit behind iliac crest pain. Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints and reduce friction. When the bursa located near the iliac crest becomes inflamed, it can cause pain and tenderness. Repetitive activities, such as prolonged sitting or running, can contribute to the development of hip bursitis.

3. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) to the ilium (part of the pelvic bone). Dysfunction in this joint can lead to iliac crest pain. Causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction include trauma, pregnancy, or degenerative conditions. Pain in the iliac crest area may worsen with activities that involve twisting or bending.

4. Herniated Disc

A herniated disc in the lumbar spine can also cause referred pain to the iliac crest. When a disc between the vertebrae ruptures or slips out of place, it can compress nearby nerves, leading to pain that radiates to the iliac crest. This condition often occurs due to age-related degeneration or improper lifting techniques.

5. Stress Fracture

Stress fractures are tiny cracks in the bone that commonly occur in athletes or individuals who engage in repetitive high-impact activities. If the iliac crest is subjected to excessive stress, such as from running or jumping, it can develop a stress fracture. This can cause localized pain and tenderness in the iliac crest area.


Pain in the iliac crest can have various causes, including muscle strain, hip bursitis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, herniated discs, and stress fractures. Identifying the underlying cause is crucial for effective treatment. If you are experiencing iliac crest pain, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide a proper diagnosis and develop a personalized treatment plan to alleviate your discomfort.



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