The ileum: anatomy, function and treatment


The largest and highest hip bone, the ilium, also known as the ilium, is an important part of the pelvic girdle. In adults, this fan-shaped bone fuses with two other bones, the ischium and the pubis, to form the pelvic bone (often called the hip bone). Thus, the ilium serves as support and is part of the structure that supports the spine when the body is upright. Consequently, it is required as part of a locomotive apparatus.

Pelvic problems, seen more often in women, can affect this bone, such as endometriosis (where the lining of the uterus is outside the uterus, causing bleeding and other symptoms), pelvic inflammatory disease (scarring). ) of the tissue that interferes with fertility), uterine fibroids (benign tumors in the uterus) and others. Also, a fracture can occur here and the bone can be affected by arthritis.


As part of the pelvic bone, the ilium, as well as the ischium and pubis, fuse with each other and, through the sacroiliac ligaments, join the sacrum ( coccyx ). sacroiliac joint.

Anatomically speaking, the ilium is divided into two parts: the body and the wing.

The body of the ilium is its most central part and is part of the acetabulum, the glenoid cavity in which the head of the femur (upper leg bone) is located, as well as the acetabular fossa, a deeper depression just below above the joint.

The iliac wing, as its name suggests, is the largest and most expanded portion of the bone. On each side, it represents the outer lateral border of the pelvis.

The ilium also has a number of important landmarks, including :

  • The iliac crest is the curved upper border of the ilium.
  • The anterosuperior spine is a bony protrusion that marks the border of the iliac crest anteriorly.
  • The anterior lower spine is a bony protrusion that runs under the anterior upper spine on the anterior side of the bone.
  • The superior spine is the end of the iliac crest on the posterior side of the ilium.
  • The posterior lower spine lies below the posterior upper spine and is at the end of a larger rough area called the surface of the ear.
  • The surface of the atrium connects to the sacrum through ligaments, forming the sacroiliac joint.
  • The iliac fossa is a shallow depression on the inner surface of the upper part of the bone.
  • The arcuate line is the ridge that forms the lower border of the ilium, formed by the change in curvature between the upper and lower portions of the bone.
  • The greater sciatic arch is the largest U-shaped indentation on the posterior border of the lower ilium.
Image Combination: REB Images / Getty Images

Anatomical variations

In general, there are differences in the shape of the pelvis and, consequently, the ilium in men and women. In general, the pelvis of women is wider and has a greater distance between the anterior superior iliac spines, while the pelvis of men is generally deeper and has stronger and thicker bones that support the upper body (usually) heavier .

Four varieties are recognized: android, gynecoid, anthropoid, and platypelloid, which differ in pelvic inlet shape, weight, subpubic angle, and other characteristic features .


As stated above, the main purpose of the ilium is to serve as part of the pelvis and to help support the upper body and facilitate movement and walking. Various muscles and nerves connect to the iliac bone, which helps determine the function of this bone. Relevant muscles here include :

  • The sartorius muscle , which attaches to the anterior superior iliac spine, is associated with movement of the hip and knee.
  • The rectus femoris is one of the quadriceps femoris and begins at the anterior superior iliac spine.
  • The piriformis muscle helps the thigh to rotate, allowing the leg and foot to move outward just below the posterior inferior iliac spine.
  • The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus , the major muscles of the buttocks, also extend from the ilium.
  • The iliac muscle extends from the iliac fossa and provides hip flexion.
  • The fascia lataisis muscle , originating on the anterior and posterior sides of the iliac crest, is involved in maintaining balance when standing or walking.
  • The square muscle of the lower back , one of the deepest abdominal muscles, ends at the ilium.
  • The internal and external oblique muscles of the abdomen enter the iliac crest.

Various ligaments also connect to the iliac bone and are often associated with the stabilizing functions of this bone. The inguinal and ilio femoral ligaments depart from the anterior superior iliac spine, which are connected, respectively, with the pubic bone and the femur. adheres to the tuberosity of the ilium.

Finally, several other supporting ligaments, the dorsal, interosseous, and ventral sacroiliac ligaments, as well as the iliolumbar ligaments, also connect to the iliac tuberosity.

Related conditions

The ilium can be a problem site for pelvic disease. This is especially true for women.

For example, scar tissue in this area can form as a result of a number of diseases and can lead to pain and infertility. Additionally, the ilium may be associated with endometriosis , a condition in which uterine tissue expands outside of the uterus, leading to pelvic pain, painful periods, severe cramps, infertility, and a variety of other symptoms.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) causes scar tissue in and around the hip bone, which can make it difficult for women to fertilize. An infection that originates in the uterus, this disease, as its name suggests, causes a severe inflammatory reaction throughout the area.

Also, the formation of uterine fibroids (benign tumors) can cause pain in and around the pelvis. This leads to increased urination, constipation, and other symptoms.

The ilium can also rupture from a fall or other injury. Symptoms of this include sharp pain, swelling and bruising, and an inability to lean on the hip.

Genetic deformities can also occur in the shape of the ilium and pelvis, which can also lead to a number of problems.

Finally, inflammation of the sacroiliac joint, a condition called sacroiliitis, can lead to painful symptoms, as well as fever and stiffness. This is often due to arthritis in the hip.


Treatment for hip and pelvic bone problems depends on the severity of the condition.

Endometriosis, for example, can be treated with hormonal treatments, pain relievers, and surgery to remove damaged tissue. For pelvic inflammatory disease, treatment ranges from antibiotics to minor surgery. If the fibroid becomes too large, it may also need to be surgically removed.

Rehabilitation of an iliac fracture depends on the extent of the injury. In minor cases, you may need a little more than bed rest, as well as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. Physical therapy and the use of crutches may also be required, and in extreme cases, surgery may be required to repair the area .

For sacroiliitis or other symptoms of hip arthritis, treatment ranges from pain relievers and anti-inflammatory pills like naproxen, acetaminophen, and others. Stretching and exercise can also help, but if the damage is too extensive, replacement surgery or hip rejuvenation may be required. In the first case, a part of the thigh is replaced by a metal prosthesis, while in the second case, a part of the thigh is recreated with the replacement of the femoral head and the glenoid cavity.

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