Medical Definition of Piriformis syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Piriformis syndrome: Irritation of the sciatic nerve that is caused by compression of the nerve within the buttock by the piriformis muscle. Typically, the pain of piriformis syndrome is increased by contraction of the piriformis muscle, prolonged sitting, or direct pressure applied to the muscle. Buttock pain is common. Piriformis syndrome can cause difficulty walking due to pain in the buttock and lower extremity. Piriformis syndrome is one of the causes of sciatica. Piriformis
syndrome is treated with rest and measures to reduce inflammation of the muscle and its tendon. With persistent symptoms, further treatment can include local injection of anesthetic and cortisone medication. Rarely, surgery is performed to relieve the pressure.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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