Let’s talk a little about the irritating piriformis muscle. A lot of runners have trouble with this muscle. If you have tightness/pain at the top of the hip/glute area it is most likely the piriformis.
Let’s take a look at how you stand. One of our key postural issues regarding the piriformis muscle is the position of our legs below the pelvis. The length and tone of the hip muscles is determined by the ease of the femur bones connection to the hip. Are one or both of your feet pointing outward? If so, you most likely have some sort of piriformis/hip issue. If we stand and walk with our feet always turned out, the length and tone of the hip muscles will change. They will always live in a lax or short state as they are not naturally drawn to their proper length. This is easy to see in people as the displacement of the leg in the hip socket always manifests in the eventual turn out of the foot. Anyone who walks around with their feet splayed has strange things going on in their hip muscles.
For the piriformis muscle this means that if the leg is turned open, or the thighs are pulled forward, it will have no contractile strength and will not be exerting its pull on the sacrum at the back to balance the opposite pull of the psoas major at the front. Obviously if this is the posture that we always inhabit our piriformis muscle is always lax or short.
I remember as a kid my right foot always pointed out. I have a consistently tight right hip/ buttocks issues!!!
The first thing Dr Goodman taught us in Foundation Training was the positioning of our feet. Most of society is walking around with externally rotated femurs and feet. In Foundation Training we do almost all of the work with feet pointed pointed forward and/or internally rotated to work on muscles that have become weak from all the external rotation. I really work on this to alleviate my hip / glute pain. Remember, FT is a way to treat your own symptoms actively…it is not a cure. FT is the best self care treatment available in my opinion! I use it everyday and I am feeling much better and still no back pain!