Piriformis syndrome is compression of the sciatic nerve through the piriformis muscle. This muscle acts as an external rotator, weak abductor and hip flexor and provides stability when walking and standing. The piriformis muscle can be irritated with spasms or local inflammation. If the sciatic nerve is compressed or pinched, nerve irritation can cause pain along the sciatic nerve. Pain may be felt in the buttocks down to the lower thigh and leg.
- Irritation of the Piriformis Muscle through Spasm
- Local Inflammation
- Muscle spasm in the piriformis muscle, either because of irritation in the piriformis muscle itself, or irritation of a nearby structure such as the sacroiliac joint or hip
- Tightening of the muscle, in response to injury or spasm
- Swelling of the piriformis muscle, due to injury or spasm
- Bleeding in the area of the piriformis muscle.
Signs & Symptoms
- A dull ache in the buttock
- Pain down the back of the thigh, calf and foot (sciatica)
- Pain when walking upstairs or inclines
- Increased pain after prolonged sitting
- Reduced range of motion of the hip joint