Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis is a flat, pyramid-shaped muscle that runs from the sacrum to the outer hip bone. This muscle is susceptible to overuse, misuse, or repetitive motion injuries.

In a situation of overuse, the piriformis may tighten, causing pain. The sciatic nerve runs under, or in some cases through, the piriformis muscle on its way out of the pelvis, which can lead to compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve if the piriformis is overworked.

Symptoms:

  • Pain in and around the outer hip bone
  • Pain in the center of the buttocks
  • Pain starting from the buttocks down the back of the leg and sometimes lower leg
  • Difficulty with sitting for long periods of time
  • Numbness or tingling starting from the buttocks down the back of the leg

Common causes:

  • Overuse and repetitive motion of the piriformis without time to rest
  • Direct buttock contusion
  • A hip or lower back injury
  • Sitting for long hours
  • Running or exercising without proper stretching or warming up
  • Poor posture
  • Improper gait mechanics
  • Incorrect sitting position
  • Incorrect lifting mechanics
  • Muscular imbalances

Risk Factor:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Occupation that includes long hours of sitting
  • Athletes or runners who don't properly stretch prior to activity, or cool down properly after activity