The piriformis muscle is one of many leg muscles deeply embedded in the buttocks or hip area of the leg. The muscle joins the sacrum (lower part of the spine), to the top of the femur (thigh bone), and runs parallel to the ground.
The muscle is important for turning the thigh and by proxy the entire leg, away from the body. In other words, it helps you to walk, balance and shift weight.
There is a large nerve that runs through the thigh called the sciatic nerve. If the small, band-like muscle, the piriformis muscle, in the buttock near the top of the hip joint becomes inflamed, it may push on the sciatic nerve. This is called piriformis syndrome.
The sciatic nerve is one of the longest nerves in the body and it runs through or alongside the piriformis muscle, down the back of the leg and terminates into several other, smaller nerves in the foot.
Should the piriformis muscle become inflamed because of injury or overuse, it may press into or onto the sciatic nerve. The result is piriformis syndrome or Deep Buttock syndrome, because the pain originates in the buttock or deep within the thigh itself.
I’ll have more on piriformis syndrome next month, but for now, if you’d like to learn more about hip pain and piriformis syndrome, visit our comprehensive piriformis syndrome article.
Until next time, stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.
The Stretch Coach