Foam Rolling for the Piriformis

Foam Rolling for the Piriformis copy

After I finished presenting Exercise rehabilitation of the Hip at Douglas College, where I go through Piriformis Syndrome. A great question came up about foam rolling for the piriformis, so I wanted to share a quick tip on it with you.  

The foam roller is excellent for foam rolling the piriformis. It is one of the things that I recommend for someone that has piriformis syndrome. So many muscles in our lower body need to be kept loose and pliable daily – the piriformis being one of them. The roller has been proved as an effective way to massage these hard-working muscle groups without using your hands or fingers, which can put pressure on joints and inflame surrounding tissue.  

There are many benefits to using this inexpensive device. The foam roller promotes blood flow and releases muscle tension throughout the entire muscular system as you roll it around tight areas of your muscles. This includes increasing flexibility and decreasing soreness post-workout or injury. You are even aiding in conditions like lower back compression syndrome or sciatica! Improving posture (and relieving chronic pain) and speeding recovery time from injuries such as ankle sprains or shin splints. 

There are two ways to do it. One is less intense and may be appropriate for someone with high sensitivity to the piriformis. The second is one way of hitting the piriformis right on.      

Two Ways of Foam Rolling for the Piriformis Muscle

In the first photo, I foam-rolled my piriformis and explained how to do the exercise. You start sitting on the foam roller with your ischial tuberosity (sits bones). You bring the right foot on top of the left knee. Then you shift your weight onto your right cheek. Then you roll the foam roller from below your seat bone to above your sit bone. 

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Foam Rolling for the Piriformis

The second photo is the setup of the foam roller. I am not on the foam roller, but I am showing you the position you are in and the position the foam roller is in. If you look, the foam roller is perpendicular to the right leg, which is the side that is being foam rolled.

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Foam Rolling for the Piriformis – Perpendicular

In the third photo, I show you the angle that hits the piriformis right on. If you look, the foam roller is at a 45-degree angle to the right leg. 

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Foam Rolling for the Piriformis – 45 Degree Angle

I recommend trying it with your client but remember. You need to be selective. Some clients may be too sensitive for them to foam roll the piriformis. Some will have difficulties getting in and out of the position.

If you are looking for more foam rolling tips, I would recommend that you check out when the next time I am teaching Foam Roller Essentials – Stretching, Active Release, and Balance course. It is a fun class, and I go through all the foam rolling exercises.

CLICK HERE to watch the video on foam rolling your piriformis muscle

Rick Kaselj, MS

Piriformis Syndrome Solved