I have read alot on this since being diagnosed by my physio.
Have been out for 6 weeks with this, after running on it (+ a race) for 3 weeks prior.
Physio loosened all the surrounding muscles by manipulation until we isolated the piriformis, and more specifically the nerve aggravated by it.
I got to the stage where the muscle itself wasn't causing me grief and the nerve could be strtched out. Did some swimming and pool running in the intervening time.
Read about the tennis ball, so bought one and used it friday last week. Was a little uncomfortable but felt as though i was stretching out the right area.
I went for a 2.5 mile run saturday and if I go anywhere near that tennis ball it hurts like hell.
It's now tuesday and I feel like I'm going backwards, and that i should never have used the ball in the first place.
Any thoughts much appreciated as I have been so patient with this.
I'm working on the basis that if the ball hurts like hell (very specific area though) that i should not run ?


  • hiya, here's what I posted on a different thread: (originally thought I had sciatica)

    For anyone else who has this the advice I've had is: ice pack on area for 8 mins 3 times daily, piriformis stretch for 15 seconds x 2, 3 times daily, ultrasound with physio today, interferential (next week), more stretching (I'm doing yoga) daily. Normal recovery rate for a piriformis strain is 6-8 weeks.

    To do a piriformis stretch you lie flat, grab left knee with right hand and pull it over towards right thigh whilst pushing your left hipbone down with your left hand to stop it lifting from the floor. You should feel a stretch in the middle gluteus area.

    ps I'd leave the tennis ball stretch if it's making it really sore.

    Hope that helps! good luck.

  • Tennis ball a good idea generally as its like giving it a massage. However, if you did it til it "hurt like hell" you may have actually irritated the nerve that runs through the muscle! Will take a couple of days to recover. Don't run til its recovered.

    Has your physio discussed why the piri was a problem in the first place? There must be a reason why it flared up. It doesn't generally just strain, there's usually some other underlying cause.

    Hope its improved by today.
  • it's the latest in a long line of injuries.
    caused by imbalance after acl reconstruction 10 years ago - did all the stretching beforehand but more on the affected leg than the other so slightly more supple, and it seems injury prone, on that side.
    High mileage one week caused this but it seems to have morphed along the way.
    ran yesterday, tender today, will go out on saturday.
    Nerve seems to be less of an issue now though.
    Tennis ball is off limits - it is acutely painful in a specific area.
    general flexibility very good.

    thks for input.

    P.s most stretches i've read on here are for glutes not piriformis..
  • SocketSocket ✭✭✭
    Hi, I had pririformis in just before summer, probably bought on by a bit too much training and a 5k race on a hot day when I tried way too hard. Also old running shoes probably didn't help.
    It took about 6 to 8 weeks of rest before I could run any more than about 20 mins. I did try running earlier on a couple of occasions but each time the piriformis came back. I found stretching helped and sitting on a tennis ball did help too, but only later on once the pain had mostly gone. Oh and about 4 visits to the Physio was well worth it.
    I v'e added some links to some information that I found while surfing. I'm sure there are some stretches in there.

    good luck





  • Thanks socket. I'm starting from scratch now, run/walk programme steadily building the running once full stretches and walking cause no aggravation the days after.
    this is 3 months now from the time i think i did it, so i'm not taking any risks moving forward..
  • ......and are people moving th tennis ball around whilst applying the pressure or just using it as a static compression of a specific area ? moving seemed to cause me problems so will avoid.
    i am going to use heat beforehand too.
  • SocketSocket ✭✭✭

    I was sitting on the tennis ball and moving around, trying to roll out the bumps so to speak. Whatever works for you though. Warming the area first with a hot water bottle before stretching seemed to help.

  • I might try to see a physio, but currently as I said I can still run and will take it like that. Running just means too much to me! If it gets worse so that I'm finding it hard to run then I'll check myself in (reluctantly)...
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