Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a musculoskeletal problem that involves the piriformis muscle and, when irritated, the sciatic nerve.

Your physical therapist can give you tips to prevent exacerbating your symptoms and address the musculoskeletal abnormality with soft tissue techniques and exercise.



Some possible irritants of piriformis syndrome are sitting, prolonged walking, injury, squatting, and moving the hip into internal rotation—all of these activities cause increased tension on the piriformis.


Click this image for a video explaining piriformis syndrome.

Click this image for a video explaining piriformis syndrome.

If you have piriformis syndrome, you may experience:

  • Numbness or weakness in any of the structures in the sciatic nerve distribution, including the gluteal region, posterior thigh, leg, or foot

  • Pain when walking up stairs or inclines

  • Foot-drop due to weakness in the muscles that lift the foot against gravity

  • A dull soreness or ache in the buttock area

  • Increased pain after prolonged sitting

  • Inability to comfortably move the hip joint


The Problem

Pain during intercourse, also known as dysparuenia, is very common. Get treated at Sarton Physical Therapy.

The piriformis attaches from the sacrum to the lateral aspect of the femur, and functions as an external rotator, abductor and extensor of the hip. The sciatic nerve, which runs in a thick band underneath the belly of the piriformis, carries the two nerve branches that bring innervation to the posterior thigh and leg, the tibial and common fibular nerves.

In some cases, these two nerves branch apart right above the piriformis, wrapping around it. Other times, one or both of the nerves might run right through the muscle itself. In any case, when the piriformis is inflamed or in spasm, it has the potential to compress the surrounding nerves.


The Good News


Hope and Healing are always possible.

Piriformis syndrome physical therapy treatment

Interventions from your physical therapist would include a pelvic exam and manual therapy. These techniques would include myofascial release to treat trigger points and allow tissues to become normalized, visceral manipulation to treat organs that have been affected by adhesions, and scar tissue mobilization. Through skilled interventions, we help provide pain relief and improve overall tissue mobility.

Sarton Physical Therapy is home to the best pelvic health physical therapists in Orange County. The physical therapists at Sarton PT have an eclectic perspective in treating piriformis syndrome with their successful interventions. Let our advance board certified physical therapists help, please contact us with any questions or requests for additional information. 

Lori A, Boyajian-O’ Neill, et al. Diagnosis and management of piriformis syndrome:an osteopathic approach. J Am Osteopath Assoc Nov 2008;108(11):657-664.

Shah S, Wang TW. Piriformis syndrome. eMedicine specialities: Sports medicine: hip 2009 fckLR http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/87545-overview


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