My piriformis – the ‘butt’ of many jokes

So I finally regain my running mojo back in the UK with a spring run, blossom falling from cherry trees like snow. OK, cut the romance, my damn piriformis continues to play up. This has been a problem since training for the Robin Hood half marathon in September 2013 so it’s not a new niggle and one I have tried to self treat. If you’re new to running you may not know you have a piriformis, like you may be new to your IT bands. It’s basically your bottom, bum, butt, rear, arse, whatever you choose to name it. Not however the big glute muscle, you know the one that conjures up visions of someone walking up behind you grabbing a handful in an old comedy film ‘whey hay’ manner, no, it’s the odd top part of your bum, not your back, but not the cheeky area either. I found you a picture below, don’t panic it’s not me, I’m slimmer than I was, but not that bad!

I know it well, my original running inspiration, Nicola, was afflicted in her early running days and she proudly carried a tennis ball around the office ready to sit on while she came to chat at our desks. Now that would be giving my team too much ammunition!! Could you imagine the comments ‘careful you don’t lose it’ , ‘you’ll need to go to A&E to get that removed !’ Ironically it’s being sat on your backside in a sedentary job that starts the problem off in the first place. A post half marathon sports massage identified that I just don’t have enough butt, now that’s something I never thought I’d hear said about me. You need a great butt to drive those legs forward and since then I have deployed ‘operation buns of steel’ but it’s clearly not there yet. I’ve concentrated on squats, clearly not wasted but just not tacking the right area.

I finally sought the advice of a physio (6 months too late I guess). Now 2 years ago I attended Nottingham Sports Injury Clinic to sort out a knee problem which was impressively resolved. I had a young physio called Brody and I had the added delight that he happened to be alarmingly good looking and as a rugby player, my kind of build…..result !! Alas, I simply couldn’t subject him to my middle aged butt despite that I know he could probably have solved the problem. The indignation for an LCA like me was too much.

So I’m signed up with an enthusiastic young netball player called Rhianon, blonde, bubbly and doing well so far. Piriformis duly diagnosed, massaged (ouch) and for the first time in life ‘acupunctured’. To find myself lying there with 3 needles sticking out my butt wasn’t what I was expecting but I’ll give anything a try. It’s very weird, it seriously doesn’t hurt at all until the needle clearly hits the muscle which does an involuntary jump, a most odd sensation. Plus I’m being very conscientious and running (pardon the pun) through my exercise sheet as instructed.

I’ve let this niggle go on for months, I guess it won’t sort itself out overnight but I’ll never reach a marathon unless I sort it out and I definitely want a marathon now.

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Categories: Ladies of a Certain Age Running (LCA)

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