Walking and the Sacroiliac Joints

walkingWalking correctly makes having happy sacroiliac joints much more likely. The sacroiliac joints are a link between the spine and the pelvis. The sacrum, the base of the pelvis, is a triangular shaped bone that fits in between the two hip bones. The sacrum and hips are connected at the sacroiliac joints by very strong ligaments that ideally allow a tiny bit of movement in the joints but also limit the extent of that movement.

Walking poorly, and my experience is that most people are walking poorly, is an easy way to mess with the sacroiliac joints. Imagine that the most sedentary person takes about three thousand steps a day, while the average person walks somewhere between five and eight thousand steps. I try my best to walk between ten and fifteen thousand a day.

The sacroiliac joints are involved in every step we take. The pelvis is designed for some very cool movement when we are walking, meant to both tilt and rotate, which happens in very few people I work with. Instead, due to poor alignment , the pelvis fails to either tilt or rotate often just hiking up from side to side.  This depends on how the legs are inserted into the pelvis or how much room for movement there is in the sacroiliac joints.

One very effective element of my walking program is the video analysis that we provide to customers.  I watch a lot of these videos and the patterns are painfully similar. Look at one of my favorite pictures, Keep On Truckin’, by Robert Crumb. This is an exaggeration of most walking patterns.


In the image our Keep on Truckin’ friend leads with his legs like most everyone I work with. If you fall into this category as well you will be limiting the movement available in the sacroiliac joints. Unfortunately there is no way around this. Legs that lead the way when we walk pull the pelvis into a tucked position and externally rotate the head of the femurs in the hip sockets.

The external rotation of the femur heads draws the hip bones closer towards each other at the back of the body which closes down the space in the sacroiliac joints. Let’s say you fall into the category of average walker and you walk at least five thousand daily steps. If those are well placed steps your sacroiliac joints will thank you for each and every one.

Multiply five thousand not so great steps over the course of five, ten or twenty years and you will start to understand why so many people have sacroiliac joint issues.