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Ischial tuberosity pain syndrome treatment

Ischial tuberosity pain syndrome causes pain in the buttocks and can be caused by sitting for too long

A patient needing ischial tuberosity pain syndrome treatment holds their buttock in discomfort
Ischial tuberosity pain syndrome is a condition that causes pain in the buttocks. It is also known as sit-bone pain. Severe ischial tuberosity pain syndrome may be caused by inflammation of the ischial bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that cushion muscles and bones and prevents friction between them. This condition is known as ischial bursitis.

Ischial tuberosity anatomy

The ischial tuberosity is a rounded bone that extends from the ischium (the lower half of your hip bone). It is connected to the thigh muscle (hamstring) by tendons and covered by the gluteus maximus muscle when your legs are straight. When your legs are flexed, such as when sitting, the gluteus maximus muscle moves, leaving the ischial tuberosity unprotected. Ischial bursitis occurs when there is inflammation of the bursae between the gluteus maximus muscle and the ischial tuberosity.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private ischial tuberosity pain syndrome treatment with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

This page explains what ischial tuberosity pain syndrome is, what the symptoms are, what can cause the condition and what treatments are available.

Symptoms of ischial tuberosity pain syndrome may include:

  • Pain when sitting
  • Pain when stretching the legs or buttocks
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected side
  • Tenderness in the thigh or buttocks
  • Abnormal sensations such as pins and needles in the buttocks (paraesthesia)
  • Aching in the hip bone
  • Stiffness in the hip bone
  • Pain in the buttocks that may radiate down the legs
  • Reduced mobility
  • Redness
  • Swelling

The most common cause of ischial tuberosity pain syndrome is sitting for prolonged periods on a hard surface. This puts pressure on the ischial bursa and can cause irritation and inflammation.

Other possible causes include:

  • Injury to the hip or buttocks
  • Ischial tuberosity fracture
  • Joint conditions
  • Abnormalities of the lower spine
  • Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout

Ischial tuberosity pain can be treated in a variety of ways, including:

  • Rest
  • Medication
  • Application of ice packs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Exercise
  • Steroid injections

Your consultant will probably recommend a combination of treatments to treat your ischial tuberosity pain syndrome.


In most cases, ischial tuberosity pain syndrome resolves with rest. Avoid activities that make your pain worse, such as prolonged sitting. Try to change your sitting position, so that you are not putting pressure on the affected area.

You should avoid activities like cycling and running for around four to six weeks to give your inflamed ischial bursae time to heal.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen work by relieving pain and swelling. You can buy NSAIDs over the counter or your consultant can prescribe one. Always take your medication as directed by a doctor and read the patient information leaflet carefully before use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medication.

Ice packs

Applying an ice pack to the affected area will help to reduce swelling and can also relieve pain by numbing the area. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth for around ten minutes three or four times a day. Never apply ice directly to your skin.


Our expert team of physiotherapists can show you some exercises that are beneficial for ischial tuberosity pain. They may also use other techniques, such as massage and ultrasound, to help relieve pain.

You can also do gentle stretching exercises at home, including:

We recommend doing three sets of ten repetitions, three to four times a week until your pain improves. These exercises may not be suitable for everyone, and you should check with your consultant or physiotherapist before starting any exercise regime.

Steroid injections

If you have tried the above treatments and you still have ischial tuberosity pain, your consultant may recommend an injection of an anti-inflammatory medication called a corticosteroid. This injection is given directly into the bursae and usually provides pain relief for several months.

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Your consultant will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical examination. They may order tests and scans, such as an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound. In some cases, your consultant may order a blood test to rule out or confirm an underlying medical condition.

How is a diagnosis made?

Your consultant will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms, physical examination and the results of any tests or scans.

Why is this first consultation so important?

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is very important as it’s where your consultant will ask you about your symptoms, perform a physical examination, order any necessary tests, provide a diagnosis, and discuss possible treatments.

Your first consultation is also where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible before, during, and after your treatment, so please discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your consultant during your appointment.

After making a diagnosis, your consultant will discuss possible treatment options with you and decide on the best option based on your symptoms and diagnosis.

We answer some of your most commonly asked questions about ischial tuberosity pain syndrome.

What causes ischial tuberosity pain?

Ischial tuberosity pain is caused by prolonged pressure on the ischial tuberosity, part of the lower pelvis, such as prolonged sitting. This can lead to inflammation of the ischial bursae (ischial bursitis). The condition can also be caused by activities such as running, cycling, and climbing stairs, as well as injuries, and some medical conditions.

How do you fix ischial tuberosity pain?

Treatment for ischial tuberosity pain includes rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), application of ice packs, physiotherapy and, in some cases, steroid injections. Our team of expert consultants will create an individualised treatment plan based on your symptoms, diagnosis, and general health.

How long does ischial tuberosity pain last?

With rest and the correct treatment, ischial tuberosity pain normally resolves in around four to six weeks.

At Circle Health Group, we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care, including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about ischial tuberosity pain syndrome, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in January 2024. Next review due January 2027.

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