Piriformis (glute)/IT Band Recovery Help

westrich20940 Posts: 889 Member
edited January 2021 in Social Groups
Hello runners!

I have had a piriformis injury in the past years ago and I had to stop running then to allow it to get better - but I'd say it's never quite been the same since.

Anyway - I've been running this year. Started in January by walking - then started doing some interval (walking/running) and then got to running straight. I walk for ~the first .5 miles of my workouts and then run the rest. In the spring when I started running more (like 4-5 miles per run) I noticed some issues with my piriformis again...but it didn't hurt when I ran so I continued and re-focused on glute strengthening exercises at home (bridges, side leg lifts, squats, donkey kicks, clams, crouched side shuffles). I wish I felt comfortable going to a gym to use some weight/equipment but I just don't so I'm stuck with body weight stuff and don't have any room at home to get a bench or large weighted equipment.

Anyway...the piriformis issues only lasted a few weeks and then went away without me backing off of my running at all. At this point I was running ~5miles every other day (weather permitting). So I figured..cool, I got past that.

I felt like I wasn't making progress with my running so I started adding some distance each run but gave myself 2 days in between. On the days I didn't run I'd hike (~3-4 miles or walk 3-5 miles). So I got to 6 miles every 3rd day. It's a flat/asphalt route.

Last few runs of 2020 I started having pain on the outside of my left knee (my piriformis hadn't been bothering me...but once I noticed the outside knee pain about 5 miles into my run....I started noticing some burning/tingling in my glute/side of thigh....same stuff related to the piriformis clenching on the sciatic nerve). =(

So, I've decided to take the first 2 weeks of 2021 off of running and when I start again, I'll probably try to just start with 4 miles and see how I feel. In the meantime, every other day I've been doing a circuit of the same body weight glute strengthening stuff I did to kick my piriformis issue (recommended exercises are typically the same for hip flexor/piriformis/IT Band issues)....I REALLY don't want to be knocked out from running for an extended time. And I didn't add significant amounts of mileage/pace, or anything when this cropped up so I'm feeling a bit discouraged.

I am going to get a new pair of shoes (however, my current Mizuno Wave Riders only had 220 miles on them).

So my question is...am I doing the right thing, generally speaking? And is every other day a good schedule for these glute exercises? I feel like I've done them hard and feel sore/tired on the day of...but the next day my muscles aren't sore --- should I be doing more so that I am sore the next day?

Any input would be nice to hear -- I know that most of you are not a doctor or anything and I already have a recommendation for a doctor in case I need to go to someone.


  • gloriawrightcook
    gloriawrightcook Posts: 4,244 Member
    Hello! I see you posted this at the beginning of this year...did your piriformis issues ever resolve? Late last year I also had similar issues. It got to be so painful that I couldn't sleep or stand. I couldn't go up and down stairs. Mine was primarily caused by sitting too much but it was aggravated by doing very hilly workouts - I had a very hilly race and was doing very hilly runs. I was working so much that I was sitting all of the time if I wasn't running and I wasn't strength training anymore. Finally in January I went to a physical therapist and she helped me a lot with many of the exercises you mentioned. That was super helpful but as I was still working 16+ hours a day seven days a week with no days off for months, it really defeated the purpose because after the PT discharged me, everything just flared up again. Finally at the end of April I had a break from all of that sitting and now I am doing much better. I have resumed strength training. I did a half marathon in April but due to the issue, I had to mostly walk it. I determined that in order for me to get better, I had to rev up the strength training and start from scratch with my running - I started as if I was a brand new runner, did a C25K, and did my goal race last month. Now I am doing half marathon training again. I do a few days of strength every week, especially targeting areas you mentioned, glutes (especially the glute medius), hips, lower back, hamstrings, quads....also some upper body and abs. So far so good. My PT told me I could do a lot of the smaller exercises (such as clamshells and bridges) every day. You do not want to do major muscle groups every day though - lunges and squats for example, would only be a day or two a week. I hope you are better and are running happy again!!! Sorry this reply is so long after your original post - I just recently joined My Fitness Pal so I just saw it recently.