Week 9:  The Piriformis Stretch
By Trent Brooke, DPT
AZOPT Goodyear Physical Therapist

Type of stretch: Static

Seated Piriformis Stretch:  While sitting in a chair, cross one leg on top of the other as shown in the picture below.  Slowly lean forward at the hips until you feel a mild/moderate stretch along the crossed leg.  You may also increase the stretch by gently pushing down on the knee of your crossed leg.  Repeat with the opposite leg.

Piriformis1

Lying Piriformis Stretch: Start by lying on your back with both knees bent. Cross one leg over the opposite knee.  Using both hands, grab hold behind the knee of the non-crossed leg and pull it towards your chest until you feel a mild/moderate stretch in the crossed leg.  Repeat with the opposite leg.

Piriformis 2

Why stretch the piriformis?

Stretching the piriformis can reduce pain and tightness in the back, hips, hamstrings, and buttocks.  Stretching the piriformis regularly can decrease spasms that contribute to sciatic pain and pain when sitting for long periods of time. Improving your mobility can make daily tasks such as putting on/off socks and shoes much easier and is a great stretch for runners.