The piriformis is a group of muscle fiber located in the lower limb specifically in the buttocks area. It is situated along with the other muscles in the buttocks such as the gluteus medius. It is one of the muscle bands that you need in order to move your hips, knees and legs in your local Wesley Chapel chiropractor’s office.
Location of the Piriformis Muscle
The piriformis muscle originates from the front portion of the sacrum and the top most margin of the greater sciatic notch, which are all located in the gluteal area. From these points, it exits the pelvis to the greater trochanter of the femur bone through the greater sciatic foramen. The body or central portion of the piriformis muscle lies just behind the gluteus medius in the buttocks. In simpler terms, the piriformis is situated against the posterior portion of the hip joint and the posterior wall of the pelvis.
The piriformis muscle is a pyramidal or V-shaped muscle and is flat and small. It is connected with the various tendons in the pelvis including the rounded tendon close to the greater trochanter, the tendon of the superior and inferior gemellus muscles as well as the tendon of the obturator internus.
The location of the piriformis also allows it to divide the gluteal region into superior and inferior part. The superior gluteal region contains the superior gluteal nerve and vessels while the inferior gluteal region contains inferior gluteal nerve and vessels. Inferior to the piriformis also passes the sciatic nerve originating from the lower spine.
Since the piriformis commonly is located on top of the sciatic nerve, a condition known as piriformis syndrome may develop. This involves the compression of the sciatic nerve by a tight piriformis muscle leading to symptoms of sciatica such as difficulty walking and pain in the legs and buttocks.
Functions of the Piriformis
The Piriformis muscle is responsible for a lot of movements in the lower limbs. It is a part of the lateral rotators of the hip making the femur laterally rotate when the hips are extended and abduct the femur when the hips are flexed.
The primary function of the muscle involves the external rotation of the hip. This allows the leg to turn outward when you are standing straight. During walking, the piriformis muscle plays a vital role in order to keep the person from falling. Abduction of the thigh or the femur allows the body weight to shift to the foot that is in contact with the ground. This prevents anyone from falling because the weight of the body is effectively shifted from one foot to another.
Another function of the piriformis is seen during crossing of the legs. When you cross your legs with one knee on top of the other, the femur rotates and points the knee in an oblique fashion allowing a smooth crossing of the thighs. During weight bearing activities, the piriformis muscle also allows for the stabilization of the hip. These functions of the piriformis muscle allow for a more convenient and comfortable movement of the hips and thighs.