Have you ever gotten a tight, locked hip or suffered thigh pain after exercising or playing sports? A Tight hip or piriformis muscle can be the cause in many cases, but there’s another culprit which is often overlooked. This pain may be a result of lack of mobility in the anterior muscles of your hip and thigh, causing your piriformis to overcompensate.
What is the Piriformis Muscle?
The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttocks which starts at the lower spine and continues through and connects to the upper surface of the thighbone (femur). It helps rotate the hip and allows you to turn your leg and foot. The muscle runs diagonally, and the sciatic nerve runs vertically underneath it.
When there is discomfort in the thigh area, it’s often attributed to constriction of the piriformis muscle or sciatic nerve. It’s true that irritation of the sciatic nerve can result in either lower back or thigh pain, and sometimes numbing and tingling starts along the back of the leg and travels down to the foot.
Here’s a blog that has excellent advice on how to stretch the piriformis muscles. It also includes easy to understand videos: https://livelovefruit.com/deep-piriformis-stretch-get-rid-of-sciatica/
Where is Your Pain?
We have an exercise which will help you to figure out what is causing the pain in the front of your thigh, the side of your thigh, or in the buttock area. Hip pain will limit you from crossing your legs, and even putting your shoes on. Runners, powerlifters, rock climbers, and anyone who does a lot of squatting, can be struck with this pain and it’s important to understand where it’s coming from to prevent damage to your knees.
This 30-second test will stretch the thigh and hip area out, including the nerves located towards the front of your leg.
|Keep your back straight and hold onto something with both arms outstretched.|
|Lean your body in like this. Make sure to keep your buttocks squeezed. You’ll experience a stretching sensation in the front of your thigh that has been causing you pain, or you may feel it towards the side of your thigh. Repeat this exercise for 30 seconds.|
After about 15 repetitions of this exercise, try to cross your leg or try to squat and see if it feels more “open”.
If you feel relief, then your pain was most likely originating from a muscular imbalance in the hip flexor that was limiting the piriformis muscle.
We’ve written an in-depth blog post, which will explain the exercise which will unlock the hip flexor, if you suffer from sciatica or piriformis syndrome. You can read it here.
If your hip and thigh area is feeling tight, or causing you discomfort, then it may be due to a lack of mobility which is overworking your piriformis muscle.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or if you’d like to schedule a consultation to address your hip or thigh pain.