Biking With SI Joint Problems

The sacroiliac joint is located between the sacrum and ilium in your pelvis. These regions are connected by ligaments that help to support the lower spine. The two most common types of SI joint problems are referred to as sacroiliitis and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Sacroiliitis is a direct result of inflammation in the joint while joint dysfunction is a range-of-motion problem.


A man and woman are biking together on the beach. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Biking and SI Joint Dysfunction

If you are suffering from SI joint dysfunction, certain types of low-level bike riding or stationary riding can help naturally realign your hip joint. SI joint dysfunction is a direct result of abnormal motion in this region of your body. This can lead to back pain, as well as pain in the actual joint. While riding a bike, your legs are forced into a restricted position, creating a continuous and uniform motion that your legs must engage in. After extended periods of time riding, this can help reinforce your basic range of motion, helping your hip to retrain itself in the correct way.

Biking and Sacroiliitis

In direct contrast to biking with SI joint dysfunction, biking with sacroiliitis can often increase the amount of pain and inflammation in the region. Similarly to bursitis or tendinitis, sacroiliitis is an overuse injury. Like other overuse injuries, extended periods of immobilization and a reduction in weight-bearing activities are recommended to reduce the inflammation in the region. If your sacroiliitis is caused by extensive bike riding, cut down on the amount of time you spend riding to allow the area to heal properly.


Your posture and form on your bike also directly influence your SI joint and the potential problems you may have in the region. If your seat is too high, you are overextending your legs and putting your spine out of alignment, often resulting in pulled muscles and extra strain being placed on the SI joints. To properly adjust your seat, make sure that it is at a point that allows your legs to be 85-percent extended at full extension while your back is straight.


If you are experiencing intense pain in your hip or specifically your SI joint, it is best to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor or physical therapist. While the injury may just be inflammation or a range-of-motion issue, it is possible that something more serious has happened that may require surgery. In addition, always stretch before and after engaging in bike riding to reduce tension put on your SI joints and your lower back and leg muscles.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES The Sacroiliac Joint, An Underappreciated Pain Generator Spine: Results of Sacroiliac Joint Double Block and Value of Sacroiliac Pain Provocation Tests in 54 Patients With Low Back Pain Bicycling Australia: Core Stability for Cycling