What is the Piriformis Muscle?

cardiac muscle hip exercise-Piriformis -Piriformis-


The piriformis is a small external rotator hip muscle located deep in the buttocks that can contribute to sciatic nerve pain if tight or spasming.


  • The piriformis muscle connects the sacrum to the upper femur and laterally rotates the hip.
  • It can irritate the sciatic nerve running beneath it if excessively tight or inflamed, causing piriformis syndrome pain down the back of the thigh.
  • Piriformis syndrome is treated with stretching, foam rolling, massage, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories and rest.
  • Targeted piriformis release with a lacrosse ball, massage gun, or guided stretches provides relief. Gentle active stretches prevent future issues.


  • Deep glute pain radiating down leg relieved by piriformis rolling.
  • Tingling, numbness and irritation in the butt, hip and thigh from spasming piriformis.

Related Terms

  • Sciatica, hip external rotators, muscle spasms

Common Questions

  • Where is the piriformis located? Deep in the glutes underneath the gluteus maximus toward the top of the femur.
  • How do you pronounce piriformis? pir-uh-for’-miss
elderly man with big muscles in the gym

Do Not Confuse With

  • Hamstrings – Posterior thigh muscles, not deep gluteal like the piriformis.
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