Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Piriformis Soreness

Welcome to my new readers, those of you who came over from Runs for Cookies and commented are much appreciated. This blog hasn't been active for very long, and I don't expect it to ever have a large readership, but I do enjoy getting comments. So thanks!

At my appointment on Monday I talked to my PA about the soreness in my right leg. This leg is my 'bad' leg and was a concern I had before I took up 10k training. In mid 2011 I fell with my entire weight on the outside of my lower leg. The bruise was awful, I wish I still had a picture. It extended from my knee all the way down to my ankle and was nearly black for months. The swelling was so bad I couldn't crouch, or get down on my hands and knees without my entire leg feeling like it was on fire and about to explode. When I first fell I couldn't even feel my foot.

At first they thought I might have had compression syndrome, and then they thought I had a clot, luckily neither of those turned out to be an issue. It did turn out that I had a rather large hematoma in the calf and it took weeks for it to actually stop bleeding. I took it as easy as possible, but was only able to get a week off work to keep it iced and elevated. Making the issue worse was the fact that my sister, her 2 year old, and 3 month old were living with me at the time. I tried to get back to normal life but my leg still bothered me, it didn't feel the same. I begged my NP at the time for physical therapy, but was given a prescription for pain medicine instead.

The pain medicine was awful, and after a few months I quit taking it all together and asked for therapy again, only to be told no. My NP actually dismissed me because I refused to take the medication she prescribed. Ugh! Luckily my next NP was amazing (and moved soon after I switched to her, grr), and quickly referred me to an orthopedic (almost a year after the injury). He took did a bunch on xrays and then spent an hour manipulating my leg. Turns out I had bursitis in the greater trochanter, a compressed sciatic nerve, and a cyst in my upper calf (which will never go away, it's left over from the hematoma). Luckily I didn't have to have surgery (anesthesia is a phobia of mine), but I did have fluid pulled out of the bursa, and received a cortisone shot. The worst part was he said most of the issues could have been avoided if I'd done physical therapy!

The shot was the worst thing I ever did. It took me almost 6 months to realize that although the pain was gone, my control that muscles on my right hip was decreased. The relief from the cortisone has worn off and now I am stuck with a leg that doesn't always do what I want. So it came as no surprise to me when the pain increased after a few weeks of training to run a 10k. My new PA is an amazing athlete, and in addition to her medical training, she is also a certified trainer and marathon runner. Lucky me : ) The moment I described the issue she was able to pinpoint the problem and showed me several stretches to do before and after running (or any activity) to help with the piriformis and other muscles in that region. I did them today and was able to go about 2/3rds of my run without any issues.

Once I got to work I printed off some more information and tons of stretches. Hopefully as I lose weight and gain strength the pain will decrease. Even if it doesn't I am not going to give up running. It's the first exercise other than Zumba that I have truly enjoyed.


  1. A friend of mine has had months of problems with piriformis. She was in agony with the pain and it was affecting her sleep and in turn her mental well-being. She started going to a physiotherapist about 2 months ago and is feeling so much better. The pain has reduced enough that she is able to sleep better and as a result is more able to deal with it.


    1. Hi Shell, if it doesn't improve with these stretches I will be looking in to other options, will keep physiotherapy on my list! It is an awful pain, I am never truly comfortable. I am glad your friend found relief.

  2. Ugh, I hate doctors that just prescribe pills for everything. I'm glad your new NP is so supportive of you. =)

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I got really lucky.