A very common issue with runners is piriformis pain or syndrome. Often, runners feel some pain in the back of the hip, glute, which often is caused by the piriformis.
Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome
Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle spasms or contracts, causing chemical or mechanic infiltration to the pain receptors on the static nerve, causing pain along the area.
- Deep pain in the bum (only on one side)
- Pain radiating down the leg
- Numbness or tingling in the glute and back of the leg
What is the Piriformis Muscle?
The piriformis is a triangle-shaped gluteal muscle located deep within the gluteal area, behind the gluteus maximus. The piriformis is a muscle in the glute that extends from the base of the spine to the top of the thigh bone, which causes the pain in the hip or bum. Tightness of the piriformis can compress the sciatic nerve, which can extend all the way down to the foot. That is why it is so important to fix the piriformis issue to save any other injuries it can cause.
The piriformis supports the external rotation of the hips, supports pelvis stabilization, and keep the hips level while running. That is why the piriformis muscle must also be strong to avoid the constant impact from running.
What Causes Piriformis Syndrome
- Weak glutes
- Weak hamstrings
- Tight hips
- Weakness in the deep hip stability muscles
- Overpronating feet
- Bad running form
Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome
- Sciatica-like pain down the back of one thigh, calf and sometimes even extending down to the foot.
- Limited range of motion in the hip joint.
- Tenderness and pain in the bum.
- Pain is more intense when landing and pushing off the ground.
- Pain is worse with prolonged sitting or some runners with piriformis issues can’t sit without pain.
Piriformis Syndrome Treatments
Piriformis syndrome is a condition that can last for weeks or a few months. Treatments for piriformis issues are very important to manage the syndrome. The first step is to do some treatments to release the piriformis tightness.
- Rest- To release the tightness, if the symptoms are intense, to take a few days off running will help to release the tension. If the pain is not too intense, you can still run, but try to avoid intense training sessions or long distance runs, which will increase the risk of overload on the muscle.
- Reduce Inflammation- Apply ice on the area a few times per day for 10-15 minutes, use Arnica anti-inflammatory natural cream, use the Life + Sport Device for physio treatment.
- Physiotherapy Session- To get a treatment from a physio therapist can help to release the muscle tension and help the healing. The physio therapist can perform some dry needling, and deep tissue massage which can be very helpful.
- Stretching and Foam Rolling- To start with foam rolling will help loosen up the piriformis and all the muscles attached to make the stretching a bit easier. Also, using a massage ball to do deep tissue release will help the piriformis.
Muscles to Foam Roll:
- Hip Flexors
- IT Band
- Lower Back
- Standing Forward Fold- Hamstrings
- Lateral Fold- IT Band
- Around the World
- Half Pigeon- The most efficient piriformis stretch is a half-pigeon with the leg on top of a bench or bed
- Runner’s lunge
- Happy Baby
- Supine Figure 4
- Supine Internal Rotation
- Seated Twist
Train, Look After your Muscles, Run Strong!