About this time last year, when I was in the thick of my training for The Whistler Half Marathon, I began to experience some strange and frustrating symptoms. They would begin as I ran uphill with a tingling numbness in my butt; an area not frequently associated with running injuries. Gradually, the numbness would spread up to the muscles in my lower back and my hips would become so stiff that it became increasingly more difficult to lift my knees. The more hills I ran, the worse it became and slow, laboured uphill climbs, followed by discomfort and pain whilst sitting down for any length of time, became normal for me.
I knew something was wrong, but despite having an array of info on all the well known running injuries (of the knees, shins, feet, I.T band), every running magazine and website I consulted had nothing on my problem….was I the only person with these ‘freak’ symptoms? Of course not! After seeking several expert opinions, I found out I was far from alone and my “tingly butt” gained a proper name; ‘Piriformis Syndrome’. The piriformis is one of those rarely heard of but vitally important muscles, located deep in the buttocks, running from the base of the spine to the femur (thigh bone). It’s primary job is to rotate the leg outwards, but due to it’s close proximity to the sciatic nerve, any tightness in the piriformis can cause pressure, leading to sciatic pain and numbness. Once I had this information, I was able to find out more about what was going on back there and more importantly, how to combat it.
For me it’s been a long battle, which one year on I’m still working to cure. Had I not ignored my symptoms for so long and put more emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation, I might have cured my pirifomis sooner. However, it’s not all doom and gloom! I’ve learned what methods work for me and post-run I can be found with my collection of balls and rollers! As runners, we often class training as only the running part of our lives, but in reality, rest and rehabilitation is just as important, especially after those tackling those challenging Whistler hills and on unforgiving roads. What a great excuse to relax and hit the hot tub!
Experiencing similar symptoms to mine? Check out this link…