Iliac Crest

Iliac crest forms the margin of ilium, and is a curved and broad structure that helps protect the inside of pelvic region. This crest forms the curved superior border area of the Ilium. Ilium is the largest of the bones that merge together to form the hipbone. There are usually three bones that merge and form the hipbone. Iliac crest is located on lateral edge of the superior of the Ilium and it is very close to the surface of skin within the hip region.


Therefore, when you place hands on the hips, it is one the skin just above the iliac crest where the hands rest. The iliac crest, on its anterior begins at the anterior superior iliac spine, which is a pointed bony part. From this pointed part, it moves around the Ilium’s superior edge curving itself and forming a flattened enlargement of Ilium. Just before it reaches the other end of Ilium, the iliac crest narrows and terminates to another bony part known as posterior superior iliac spine.

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Iliac crest also serves as the attachment point of muscles, as well as aponeurosis and fascia of structures around. It is found on the middle area of the anterior and the posterior superior iliac spines. Iliac crest pain is common in athletes, older people, and people who suffer from lower back pain.

iliac crest

iliac crest location


Pain occurring in iliac crest may be an indication of an inflammation within the iliolumbar ligament. A patient with iliac crest pain usually feels pain throughout the lower back, core, and hip. Dealing with the pain immediately it is felt can help in ensuring adequate recovery is achieved.


Causes of iliac crest pain

There are many causes of iliac crest pain, and most people who experience this kind of pain describe it as a sensation that aches and brings a bruising feeling, which often develops along the hips. One possible cause of this pain is weak muscles. Many muscles attach themselves below and above iliac crest. These muscles are important since they help in movement of body.

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The core, back, abdomen, and hip flexor muscles are all active within the iliac crest. Whenever these muscles weaken, they make repetitive motions or running a difficult thing. Such motions can cause an irritation on the points of attachment thereby causing pain.


Pain in iliac crest may also occur as a result of iliotibial band syndrome. The iliotibial band is situated on the outer thigh and it moves toward the outer side of your knee joint. People such as athletes and runners often have a hip pain, which is located in this area. One function of iliotibial band is that is helps in stabilization of pelvic, therefore, it may be irritated whenever there is an imbalance in the legs.


Whenever you put too much pressure or strain on one side of body, this may cause some discomforts in this part of body leading to pain. Piriformis syndrome is also associated with the pain experienced in iliac crest. Piriformis syndrome is caused by too much tightening of the luteal muscles, which puts a lot of pressure on sciatic nerve.


The strain can radiate through buttocks and hips because the pelvis is out on additional wear and tear. People who work out on worn out shoes, having lengthy discrepancies of legs, inflexibility, and muscle imbalances— all can contribute to this piriformis syndrome, which causes pain in iliac crest region.

Pain in iliac crest may also arise due to gluteus medius pain. When the gluteus medius is aggravated, it can cause pain just below the iliac crest. This leads to other problems such as reduced flexibility, reduced elasticity, and reduced range of motion. It may also result in an increase of pressure, reduced muscle and nerve function as well as problem with circulation to the part. An inflammation of iliolumbar ligaments can put pressure on muscles situated within the pelvic and lower back thereby inducing pain in iliac crest.


Treatment of iliac crest pain

Treatment of iliac crest pain can involve a number of therapies ranging from home remedies to medical treatment. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used to help reduce the pain and swelling or discomfort. Injection with corticosteroids may be used in the affected to reduce inflammation. Use of injections is offered to those people who have not received relieve from other treatments like physical therapy, rest, and ice compressions.


Applying ice packs on the painful part can reduce discomforts. However, one should not apply the ice packs directly on skin because it could cause damage to skin cells. A gentle stretch of the hip muscles and the core can help enhance flexibility and build strength, which helps prevent injuries from occurring in future.


You can strength the iliotibial band, hamstrings, and hip flexors or the quadriceps before workouts like running in order to ensure the body is conditioned and ready for the workouts. Resting the body is important as it gives time for it to recover from injury. When going back to training or other workout activities, you should avoid taking abrupt strenuous exercises as they can cause more pressure and damage to muscles.


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