Piriformis syndrome is a common cause of hip and leg pain, often producing symptoms of sciatic nerve entrapment. Physical therapists in Los Angeles published a case report in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy on a 30 year old male with a 2-year history of piriformis syndrome. A 3-month program that included 8 clinic visits with a daily home exercise program was prescribed:
- Phase I: Isolated muscle recruitment: bridge and clam exercise with looped band
- Phase II: Weight-bearing strengthening: squat, lateral step with looped band, 1 –leg sit to stand and step down
- Phase III: Functional training: lunges and jumps
After the physical therapy program, and at a one-year follow-up, the patient was pain-free, experiencing normal strength, and had returned to sport. The authors suggested that improved strength and performance of gluteus maximus reduced the demand on the piriformis and helped prevent hip motion that may have increased strain on the piriformis. A progressive, functional exercise program including Thera-Band resistance bands and band loops can be effective at reducing the symptoms of piriformis syndrome.
REFERENCE: Tonley JC, Yun SM, Kochevar RJ, Dye JA, Farrokhi S, Powers CM. Treatment of an individual with piriformis syndrome focusing on hip muscle strengthening and movement reeducation: a case report. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010 Feb;40(2):103-11.