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Dec 2019


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Piriformis syndrome is defined as the compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle is an important muscle that allows the leg to laterally rotate your leg (away from the midline). Any movement such as walking, or turning, shifting weight from one leg to the other or to even maintain balance, the piriformis muscle is an integral part in these movements. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and its location runs very close to the piriformis muscle either alongside the muscle or piercing through it. Therefore a muscle spasm of the piriformis muscle can cause nerve compression on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels down the leg to where it branches out into smaller nerves of the foot.


  • Piriformis Syndrome usually starts with pain and tingling or numbness in the buttocks. Pain can be severe and extend down the length of the sciatic nerve (often the pain can reach to your feet).
  • Pain could be triggered when sitting for long periods of time or when going up stairs.
  • Symptoms are very similar to Sciatica in that pain tingling & numbness mimic those of each other.
  • Orthopedic tests are used to differentiate between Sciatica & Piriformis Syndrome.
PiriFormis Sciatic Nerve


  • Direct or indirect trauma to the piriformis such as a fall on the buttocks or a motor vehicle accident.
  • Inflammation or Degenerative changes to the piriformis muscle or adjacent joints such as arthritis of the hip and post hip replacement swelling.
  • Overusing the piriformis muscle with repeated bending and lifting, forceful rotation with weight on one leg, putting down a heavy object or squatting while holding a weight.
  • Postural & Positional concerns from incorrect sitting position for long periods of time such as one foot driving the car.
Piriformis Syndrome


  • Decreasing compression on the sciatic nerve and reducing muscle spasm of the piriformis muscle.
  • Reducing pain and removing any trigger points which may be contributing to Piriformis Syndrome.
  • Maintaining range of motion of the hip joint.
  • Specific Exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles to help reduce compression of the sciatic nerve.

If you have any questions about Piriformis Syndrome contact Dynamic Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Inc. at 905-2-RELIEF or 905-273-5433 or at www.dynamicphysiotherapy.ca

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