Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle, located in the buttock region, spasms and causes buttock pain. The piriformis muscle can also irritate the nearby sciatic nerve and cause pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot (similar to sciatic pain).
The exact causes of piriformis syndrome are unknown. Suspected causes include:
There is no simple diagnostic test for piriformis syndrome causing irritation of the sciatic nerve. The condition is primarily diagnosed on the basis of the patient’s symptoms and on a physical exam, and after excluding other possible causes of the patient’s pain.
Most commonly, patients describe acute tenderness in the buttock and sciatica-like pain down the back of the thigh, calf and foot. Typical piriformis syndrome symptoms may include:
Symptoms of piriformis syndrome often become worse after prolonged sitting, walking or running, and may feel better after lying down on the back.
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