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Piriformis syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a rare disorder that affects the sciatic nerve and piriformis muscle. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, starting in each hip and running down each leg. The piriformis muscle is a thin muscle found in the buttocks that allows the hip to rotate and the leg and foot to point outward. Piriformis syndrome happens when the piriformis muscle presses against the sciatic nerve and causes pain along the nerve that is frequently described as tingling or numbness. The pain can get worse after sitting for a while, climbing stairs, walking, or running.

Treatment starts with stretching and massaging the muscle. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe medicine to help with inflammation and pain and may recommend stopping activities that can aggravate the nerve and muscle. Surgery may be needed in some cases. Many people can continue their usual activities once the symptoms are treated.

How can I or a loved one help improve care for people with piriformis syndrome?

Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about piriformis syndrome. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with piriformis syndrome or other neuromuscular conditions at

Where can I find more information about piriformis syndrome?

Information about piriformis syndrome may be available from the following resource:


Content source: Accessed June 29, 2023.

The information in this document is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for personalized professional advice. Although the information was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, MedLink, its representatives, and the providers of the information do not guarantee its accuracy and disclaim responsibility for adverse consequences resulting from its use. For further information, consult a physician and the organization referred to herein.

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