The piriformis muscle is located in gluteal region and is a deep muscle which arises from the sacral bone of the pelvis to the top of the femur at the hip. Piriformis syndrome is the name given to any condition that is a result of pain and tightening of this muscle. Repetitive microscopic tears to this muscle through extreme movements of the hip such as changing directions while running, can lead to progressive tightening and thickening of the muscle. The tightening and thickening of the piriformis muscle may lead to compression of the sciatic nerve, but most of the population has the sciatic nerve that passes under the piriformis muscle. In approximately 15% of the population, some individuals have two piriformis muscle bellies with the sciatic nerve coursing between them and therefore this can be an area of sciatic nerve compression when the muscle is thickened or tightened.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Deep buttock pain +/- posterior leg pain.
- Active external rotation of the hip produces hip pain.
- Sciatic nerve symptoms if involved/compressed.
- Altered gait pattern evident.