Piriformis syndrome is an uncommon neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement because it stabilizes the hip joint and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. This enables us to walk, shift our weight from one foot to another, and maintain balance. It is also used in sports that involve lifting and rotating the thighs -- in short, in almost every motion of the hips and legs.
The sciatic nerve is a thick and long nerve in the body. It passes alongside or goes through the piriformis muscle, goes down the back of the leg, and eventually branches off into smaller nerves that end in the feet. Nerve compression can be caused by spasm of the piriformis muscle.
Okay...so, there was your short lesson in this uncommon neuromuscular disorder. Here is what I was feeling: Getting out of bed in the morning I feel great until my right foot touched the floor. Then, I couldn't walk to the bathroom, I was hobbling and stumbling. After some brief stretching, I was able to walk almost normally. I was walking as if there was a large stone under my heel (not the arch, the heel). The muscles of my lower leg would tighten and tense. The muscles in my upper leg would feel as if they were being pulled into my hip socket. My inner thigh muscle, part of the adductor group would periodically spasm and cramp. I kept a good secret for days (although my hubby knew I was hurt) because I was so excited to be racing in the Wrightsville Beach half marathon. My leg would actually feel better periodically throughout the day and felt great once I was warm. Hence why I didn't see anyone about it.
This wasn't an overnight thing. There was no defining moment. There have been moments for the last 3 months that I have ignored. I think I thought if I just pampered my leg all would be good. I hung upside down on my inversion table. I rolled my leg & butt with my foam roller. I used my marathon stick on it. I have been teaching yoga consistently at least once a week. Why am I telling you this? Because at 47, I thought I was better at listening to my body but now I realize I need to be not only better at listening but also obeying my body. My livelihood has depended upon me being in relatively good shape. I am not in my 20's or 30's anymore. Am I still trying to be faster than women in those age brackets? Yes. Do I need to do more than the average runner to stay healthy? Yes. I tend to overload my schedule with teaching classes, running, and tennis. No more. I am mortal (although it pains me to say it) so I have started to scale back a little (notice I said little. Hey, at least I'm trying!)
There is a reason I have been running for 35 years now. I have always taken care of myself. I have been blessed with virtually no ailments (solid knees and good hips). This is a short term setback to my training, but a long term wake up call to be a better steward to my body.
Dr. Jeremy Phillips has not only fixed my leg, but I feel pretty confident I could audition for the Rockettes. Just kidding. He has helped tremendously and a week and a half later I am now running a little each day. Yesterday I ran 2 miles. Today 3. I'm going for the big 5-6 tomorrow. I have a little over a month till my Diva Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach. I realize I may not be able to PR (1:27), but I feel good about flirting with 1:30:00 again.
So....I'm excited to unveil my new slogan:
I can't wait to blog about my new adventures in the making!
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