Couch to 5K
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Piriformis Syndrome - Anyway had this and got over it?

Not sure how I did this, though I have a hunch some over-zealous stretching maybe to blame, but I am recovering from Piriformis Syndrome.

My physio did a great job last week, albeit quite uncomfortable at the time, and for a day afterwards. The pain in my butt has now gone, and I am just left with what feels like a bit of a strain (in the groin - sorry, I have said it now). I think this comes in part from the sciatic nerve. I have curtailed my running to twice a week, and no more than 3K at a time. I am just feeling a bit blue about this now, as it is not a quick recovery (been about 3 weeks), and I am really missing the running. Any advice from someone who has had this would be appreciated.


(How come I have never felt so healthy because of running, but now have an in-depth knowledge of aches and pains?)

8 Replies

I'm still not sure if this is what I had, or trochanter bursitis - I never got a definitive diagnosis. Either way it was a deep pain in the outer edge of the buttock, which at it's worst radiated down the back of my thigh. Sound like yours at all? I got some stretches from the physio, if you're interested I can post them.

It was 6 months ago and I still get the odd flare up, but it's not disabling, I can still run but not doing the distances I was back then. What really has helped is DIY myofascial release, in my case this is basically sitting on a baseball but you can use a foam roller if you have one.


It sounds similar, the piriformis runs across from the base of your spine to the top of the femur, so pain/discomfort can be anywhere along that line. I am just suffering from slight lower back ache, and I guess 'groin strain'. Definitely on the mend, it's just not as quick as I had hoped. What is encouraging though, is that you seem to have got through it.

I imagine your stretches might be similar to the ones that I have, though some of mine are tricky, so anything you can post would be appreciated.



Hi Nerdio, sorry it's took me a while to get back. I found this link which has the same stretches I was given by the physio:

Figure 19 I was taught to do slightly differently with the outer ankle of the 'bad' side resting over the thigh of the good (on this image it looks more like the calf), also you can do this one seated, with the bad leg crossed over and gently use your hands to push down. I also got told to do hamstring stretches, but as with all not to over stretch. I do have quite tight hamstrings (find it hard to touch my toes) so whether this was a factor I don't know (everything went very tight generally). Reading your post I remembered at the time I did have lower back pain and also into the groin area - so much so the GP actually sent me for a hip Xray- but yes, it's whole lot better now (I was out 6 weeks with it). Weird thing is a run sometimes eases it now - hope you recover as well, keep us posted! :-)


Hi notbad,

Thanks for the reply and the link. Some of those stretches look familiar, others are new. I will definitely give them a go.

Today, strangely enough I woke up and stepped out of bed carefully, expecting a twinge or ache, and felt great. As I started my run, I had some discomfort as my hip started to warm up, but then I was fine. And I still feel fine. Looks like I am nearly over it. Going to take it easy though, and see how it goes.

I have found some exercises to strengthen core muscles, because I think this will help to take some strain off the Piriformis and Glutes, so it won't happen again.

This is all so odd though. I have never done anything like this level of exercise in my whole life, and I have never felt so good. In fact for a mid 40's guy I feel pretty damn fit and healthy. That said though I have never had so many aches and pains! All part of the journey I suppose.

Thanks again


Ditto your last paragraph except gender! Strengthening the core sounds sensible, keep well & take it easy. :-)


Sounds very much like the injury I had. Can't offer any real help I'm afraid, only sympathy and support.

I could only describe it as pain from front of pelvis to buttock! I believe I did it back in June, trying to push our lawn mower through longish grass - it's a hover mower but wouldn't hover so I was using my right leg to physically manoeuvre it around.

At first I could barely walk, then with a definite limp and eventually just a slight dot.

By then, I was able to run, albeit not too quickly and only with a very short stride, but I found walking long distances helped a lot - at least 45 minutes before it felt any easier but the effects lasted for around a day.

Strangely though, I think what 'cured' it was accidentally overstretching it after my last Parkrun at the beginning of September, causing me to actually cry out with the pain, but after that, it just seemed to heal itself quite quickly and last week I realised it doesn't hurt anymore!

It may take a while to fully recover Nerdio, but I'm sure with the exercises you've been given, you'll soon be on the mend - and hope you don't get too many more flare-ups, notbad, it's a very annoying and painful thing.


Hi Nerdio. I can sympathise. I was diagnosed with Piriformis a few years back by my GP. He suggested stretching and that was it. I had a constant ache ( like toothache) 24/7 for a year and thought I'd go nuts. The stretching didn't help that much so I went to see a physio who didn't know what was causing the ache and couldn't suggest anything! Same thing from the second physio. The third physio examined me for less than 5 minutes, asked me lots of questions and told me I had a badly twisted pelvis!

This caused me lower back pain and that tight ache deep inside my buttock. He sorted me out in about 5 sessions. I then started this programme and I have had no pain/ache since and my back/hip have never been so good.

I'm sure the running helps as it keeps everything moving.

A twisted pelvis is caused by lifting something and moving/twisting your upper body only rather than taking little steps and moving your whole body round. Golfers are prone to this injury because of the swing. I'm not a golfer!

Sorry this has gone on a bit but It might be worth just asking your physio if you could have a twisted pelvis. Apparently Piriformis is very hard to diagnose and lots of professionals mis-diagnose. I can't believe that 2 other physios couldn't diagnose this with me as it all seems pretty basic stuff if you're a physio. Hey ho.

BTW, I found sitting on a tennis ball really loosened the knot for the Piriformis.

Hope it all works out for you.


Thanks everyone for your replies. So nice to know I am not the only one and to hear that others have got over it. I have improved hugely since I posted this making me think mine was a mild case.

Thanks again. Your support is appreciated.


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