The sacroiliac joint: an overview of its anatomy, function and potential clinical implications

J Anat. 2012 Dec;221(6):537-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2012.01564.x. Epub 2012 Sep 19.


This article focuses on the (functional) anatomy and biomechanics of the pelvic girdle and specifically the sacroiliac joints (SIJs). The SIJs are essential for effective load transfer between the spine and legs. The sacrum, pelvis and spine, and the connections to the arms, legs and head, are functionally interrelated through muscular, fascial and ligamentous interconnections. A historical overview is presented on pelvic and especially SIJ research, followed by a general functional anatomical overview of the pelvis. In specific sections, the development and maturation of the SIJ is discussed, and a description of the bony anatomy and sexual morphism of the pelvis and SIJ is debated. The literature on the SIJ ligaments and innervation is discussed, followed by a section on the pathology of the SIJ. Pelvic movement studies are investigated and biomechanical models for SIJ stability analyzed, including examples of insufficient versus excessive sacroiliac force closure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ankylosis / physiopathology*
  • Biological Evolution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ligaments / anatomy & histology*
  • Ligaments / physiology
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Pelvis / anatomy & histology*
  • Sacroiliac Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Sacroiliac Joint / embryology
  • Sacroiliac Joint / innervation
  • Sacroiliac Joint / pathology
  • Sacroiliac Joint / physiology*
  • Sex Characteristics*