The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement because it stabilizes the hip joint and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. This enables us to walk, shift our weightfrom one foot to another, and maintain balance. It is also used in sports that involve lifting and rotating the thighs — in short, in almost every motion of the hips and legs.

Piriformis syndrome is an common neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. It is a common cause of buttock and posterior leg pain. Pain in these areas can begin spontaneously or after an injury. The symptoms are commonly seen in patients with other inflammatory conditions and in patients who sit for most of their work day.

How does it start?

The pain usually begins when the piriformis muscle becomes taut, tender, and contracted. This process causes a deep aching sensation in the midgluteal region that is sometimes associated with pain radiating down the posterior leg or up to the lower back. The tight piriformis may cause a nerve and vessel entrapment syndrome as a consequence of its close proximity to the sciatic nerve and surrounding vessels.

Piriformis syndrome may constitute as many as 6-8% of low back pain conditions associated with Sciatic Pain (Sciatica). Some patients experience symptoms in all five toes rather than in either lateral toes or medial toes, as is generally the case in patients with herniated lumbar discs. Pain in the gluteal area is the predominant symptom.


  • pain, tingling or numbness in the buttock
  • pain can run down the leg
  • pain when climbing stairs
  • pain while sitting for long periods