The piriformis is a muscle located deep to the large gluteus maximus muscle. It is charged with helping to stabilize the hip joint as well as lifting and rotating the thigh away from the body. When this muscle has an issue it is likely to cause some serious feeling issues.
Severe issues involving the piriformis may compress the sciatic nerve, causing symptoms similar to a spinal disc bulges. Approximately 17% of the population has a variation in which some or all of the sciatic nerve may pierce the piriformis muscle. These individuals may be more at risk for symptoms. Individuals that sit for long periods of time or do long distance running are prone to have issues with the piriformis.
To perform this: lay on the floor on your back. Cross a leg over the other and place the ankle on the opposite knee. Reach through your legs and pull the straight leg towards your trunk to stretch the opposite side piriformis. Hold this stretch for about 2 breaths and repeat the process for 2 sets of 10.
*The goal here is to stretch the muscles and mobilize the hip joint. Over time this will help improve flexibility and mobility of the structures in the area. If you have pain while doing this modify it to be pain free or skip it.
*If you experience radiating pain, numbness or tingling down your leg, or into the foot consult your physician.