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What is piriformis syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is characterized by pain over the piriformis muscle (located in the buttock) with occasional pain in the back of the thigh. Other characteristics that may be present include restriction in internal rotation (turning the femur in), and pain/weakness in external rotation (turning the femur out). Piriformis syndrome can lead to compression of the sciatic nerve if the piriformis muscle becomes tight or spasms, which can cause symptoms in the back of the thigh and leg.

Piriformis syndrome is a rare neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the piriformis muscle compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve-the largest nerve in the body. The piriformis muscle is a narrow muscle located in the buttocks. Compression of the sciatic nerve causes pain-requently described as tingling or numbness-in the buttocks and along the nerve, often down to the leg. The pain may worsen as a result of sitting for a long period of time, climbing stairs, walking, or running.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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