Iliac Apophysitis

Iliac apophysitis is irritation, inflammation, and/or microtrauma of the tendons that originate off the front of the pelvis, above the hip.

Causes of Iliac Apophysitis

During growth spurts, the bone may grow faster than the muscle-tendon unit attached to it. This can lead to increased tension at the insertion site because the muscle/tendon is unable to sufficiently stretch and maintain its previous flexibility.

Iliac apophysitis is often due to overuse of the tendon/muscle during activities and sports. The onset of pain is gradual and there is usually no clear history of injury. 

Occasionally, a sudden orthopedic injury will occur due to excessive force across the apophysis from a strong muscle contraction. This displaces a bony or cartilaginous fragment and is called an apophyseal avulsion fracture. The onset of pain is sudden and may be accompanied by swelling and weakness. This injury is most often seen in adolescent athletes between 10 and 17 years of age. 

Signs and symptoms of an Iliac Apophysitis may include:
  • Gradual onset of pain, not necessarily related to a specific incident or injury
  • Sudden, persistent, or worsening pain following a single traumatic event
  • Tenderness over the tendon insertion site on the iliac bone

Taking a break from symptom provoking activity or sport reduces pain and promotes healing. Your doctor may recommend using crutches. Returning to activity too quickly will likely result in re-injury.

Rehabilitation exercises

Increasing flexibility and strength will help minimize symptoms as pain and motion improve. Your provider may refer you to a physical therapist for specific rehabilitation exercises.

Sport specific drills

As you recover, your provider may recommend specific exercises related to your sport. This helps you safely return to your sport. Your provider may refer you to a physical therapist or athletic trainer for sport specific drills.