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Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome is an uncommon neuromuscular condition where the piriformis muscle spasms and causes pain in the gluteal region.  

What is Piriformis Syndrome?

The piriformis is a muscle that extends from the front of the sacrum, at the top of the hip joint. It helps stabilize the hip joint, and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. 

When the muscle spasms, tightens or swells, it can irritate the sciatic nerve, which runs alongside or through the piriformis muscle, and can cause a number of symptoms, such as sciatica.  

Piriformis Syndrome

Signs and Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome

Typical symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome include:

  • A dull ache in the buttock
  • Numbness and tingling in the buttock that may extend down the leg
  • Pain down the back of the thigh, calf or foot
  • Difficulty or increased pain while sitting
  • Reduced range of motion in hip
  • Pain in buttocks in hip that worsens with activity

Causes of Piriformis Syndrome

While the exact cause of Piriformis Syndrome is unknown, suspected causes involve the swelling, irritation, tightening and/or bleeding in the area of the piriformis muscle. These can be caused by:

  • overuse from excessive exercise
  • repetitive and/or excessive leg activities, such as running, climbing stairs
  • sitting for extended periods of time
  • lifting heavy objects
  • injury to the muscle, such as from twisting the hip, a bad fall, a direct hit, or a penetrating wound to the muscle

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Piriformis Syndrome

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