What is Piriformis Syndrome?
Post by Maggie Gebhardt PT, DPT, OCS
If a patient comes in with posterior hip pain or radiating pain down their leg, a lot of times they have already self-diagnosed themselves with Piriformis Syndrome. However, Piriformis Syndrome is not as common as most people think. So, what actually is Piriformis Syndrome?
Piriformis Syndrome is when the pirifomis muscle is irritated because it is being overutilized. This is usually secondary to weak lateral hip musculature i.e. your glutes… sensing a theme?? The piriformis muscle extends along the back and lateral side of your hip. When it is aggravated it can cause a deep achey sensation in sitting, walking, or running. Sometimes the muscle becomes tight from overuse and can compress the Sciatic nerve as it passes through the muscle into the lower leg. If this is the case, it can cause burning, tingling, nervy sensations into the leg and possibly all the way into the foot.
Now that you know what it is you want to know what to do about it, right? Well the answer is get your butt stronger! In all seriousness though the glutes play a major role, so getting them working to take the load off the piriformis is HUGE! However, you may need some soft tissue, neural, and joint interventions to truly get rid of this pain in the butt (pun intended). If there is nerve involvement this is not something that will fix itself with time, so don’t wait! Nerves are not something to mess around with and need to be treated with interventions directed specifically at them. Don’t worry, this shouldn’t sideline you for long. Getting into see the right therapist who can administer a combination of skilled interventions plus strengthening should get you sitting, walking, and running pain free!