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Piriformis Syndrome

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Piriformis syndrome is a disorder in which the piriformis muscle (located in the buttocks) spasms and causes pain. Because the piriformis muscle is located near the sciatic nerve, the syndrome can also cause pain, numbness, and tingling down the back of the leg and even into the foot. The exact cause of this condition is unknown.

Symptoms of piriformis syndrome include:

  • Acute tenderness in the buttocks
  • Dull ache in the buttocks
  • Inability to move your hip joint in its full range of motion
  • Pain along the back of the thigh, calf, and into the foot
  • Pain that increases when you sit for long periods of time
  • Pain that increases when you walk up stairs or inclines

Treatments

Physical therapy
In many cases, your health care provider will prescribe rehabilitation therapy. Our physical therapists establish a unique plan of care that includes specific interventions for your condition and situation to help ease pain and improve mobility.

Ice treatment
Your doctor may recommend that you apply ice to your buttocks a few times each day to help manage pain.

Injections
If your pain related to piriformis syndrome is severe, your doctor may recommend injections, such as corticosteroids or Botox injections.

Tests

Physical examination
Your doctor will conduct a complete physical examination and collect your health history to help make the diagnosis.

Imaging
Your doctor may order an imaging test – such as an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as a herniated disc.

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

World-class care in an academic health system. As a research and teaching institution, we treat children and adults with proven, leading-edge procedures based on clinical studies performed at the Miller School of Medicine. Our doctors, residents, nurses, and therapists work together to create healthy outcomes.

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