Why Runners Get That Pain in the Butt aka Piriformis Syndrome
For a long time, I thought I was the only one who would occasionally get a stabbing pain in the butt. That was until I was diagnosed with Piriformis Syndrome , a condition whereby the piriformis muscle deep in your butt irritates your sciatic nerve. According to the Sports Injury Handbook, roughly 2 million Americans suffer from this condition.
In fact, runners, bicyclists and other athletes engaging in forward-moving activities are particularly susceptible to developing piriformis syndrome if they do not engage in the proper stretching and strengthening exercises. Essentially, these types of sports don't involve any lateral motion, weakening those core muscles. On top of that, the lower back, quadriceps, and hip flexors get stronger. In the end, these muscle imbalances in your core muscle groups cause muscular and structural changes that cause your piriformis muscle to tighten and contract. The sciatic nerve runs right next to the piriformis muscle and when it's contracted, it can rub up against the nerve, causing that pain in your butt.
There are other reasons for active adults having piriformis syndrome:
In 15-30% of people, the sciatic nerve passes through the piriformis muscle, instead of underneath it.
The piriformis muscle is susceptible to overuse injury when the legs are strenuously*used while in the sitting position, i.e. rowing or bicycling.
Overpronation can also be a cause.*When a foot overpronates it causes the*knee to turn*inward, causing the*piriformis to activate to prevent over-rotating the knee. This causes the piriformis to become overused and therefore tight, eventually leading to piriformis syndrome.
You can find more leading causes and statistics on our site*http://www.paininthepiriformis.com/p...mis_statistics .*
So this discussion also begs the question, "how do I treat piriformis syndrome?"
Doctors, chiropractors, and massage therapists all seem to argue that their treatment option is the best option. However, from my extensive research it seems like the most consensus on how to treat piriformis syndrome is also the easiest one to do at home, causing it to also be the most cost effective as well. Most sports injury practitioners will tell you that you should start with condition-specific physical therapy,*while temporarily avoiding running and biking.*This is not saying to just begin a generic physical therapy program, but partake in a program that focuses on your specific muscle imbalances that caused your condition in the first place. You can find more piriformis syndrome treatment options on our site.*
In any case, surgery should be the last option, after you've extensively tried everything else. However, you should know that the British Medical Journal reported that 6 months after surgery, most patients' pain returned to the pre-surgery state.*
So if you have that pain in your butt, it's best to take care of it early rather than run through the pain. Don't worry, in no time you'll be pain free and back to pounding the pavement (or trail).