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What is iliac crest pain?

March 1st, 2018 | Posted by corinne grace in Skeletal Injuries

Iliac crest pain is damage or inflammation to the ilium which is the muscle around the hipbone to result to severe and sharp pain. The hipbone is composed of the ilium, ischium and the pubis. The iliac is attached to the largest muscle in the back or lattisimus dorsi, muscle in the hip or gluteus maximus and the abdominal muscles.

A direct blow to the body has the high risk of developing iliac crest contusion especially in people playing contact sports such as football and hockey. Accidents from biking and falling on the ground and placing strong force in the hip area can develop iliac crest contusion.

Causes of iliac crest pain

  • Trauma such as collisions or a fall can cause tenderness and pain in the lower back and the hips
  • Weak muscles in the abdomen and lower back
  • Overweight
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Apophyseal injury
  • Iliolumbar syndrome

    iliac crest pain

    Low back pain that spreads down the leg.

  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Gluteus medius pain


  • Low back pain that spreads down the leg
  • Severe muscle spasms on the buttocks
  • Pain when walking due to inflammation of the joints
  • Swelling, tenderness and bruising of the affected area
  • Bending and twisting causes severe pain


  • Take plenty of rest especially the affected area immediately after the injury to lessen straining the lower back or the hipbone.
  • Apply cold compress in the area in the form of an ice packs. Wrap the ice pack in a towel before placing in the area for at least 15 minutes, 3 times every day to lessen the pain and the inflammation.
  • Elevate the affected area above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling.
  • Apply warm compress in the area in the form of a warm pad to lessen constant pain in the back due to inflammation of the ligaments and muscles in the iliac crest. It also increases flow of blood in the area and for fast healing of the condition.
  • Perform gentle stretching of the muscle of the hip to restore the strength and prevent further damage. Stretch the hip flexors, hamstrings and quadriceps with the help of the physical therapist before starting an activity.
  • Provide an over-the-counter medications to reduce the inflammation and the pain.


  • Wear proper foot wear especially when playing sports or a runner.
  • Run on good quality tracks, avoid running uphill or downhill until totally healed.
  • Proper warming up of the muscles, joints and stretching to increase flow of blood in the area. Cooling down and stretching after performing any physical activities.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on iliac crest pain is for learning purposes only. Learn more about the causes and how it is managed by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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