The 9 Best Exercises For Piriformis Syndrome Relief

Tingly legs, be gone.

Circle your leg 10 times in each direction to work your glutes.


Piriformis syndrome is when the muscles in the glute area spasm or tighten and cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the legs, says physical therapist Janelle Fleites, DPT. It’s often caused by muscle weakness, which is why doing a few exercises for piriformis syndrome can help.


Side-Lying Hip Abduction

Fleites recommends this move to build strength.

- Lie on side with bottom knee bent, top leg straight.

- Lift top leg up to ceiling.

- Hold for 2 seconds.

- Return to start.

- Do 10 reps per side.

- Add ankle weights for a challenge.


Knee To Opposite Shoulder

This simple move helps improve piriformis pain, Fleites says.

- Lie on back with legs straight.

- Lift a leg and bend the knee.

- Use one hand to bring that knee to your opposite shoulder.

- Repeat this motion for 3 sets of 30 seconds on each side.

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Monster Walk

Strengthening the outer glutes and hip flexors reduces tightness in the hips and allows the piriformis to relax, says trainer Josh Schlottman.

- Place band above slightly bent knees.

- Take step forward at 45-degree angle.

- Bring back leg forward.

- Walk forward.



Fleites also recommends this exercise for stronger glutes.

- Lie on side, knees bent, legs stacked.

- Keep heels together as you lift top knee to ceiling.

- Slowly lower knee to start.

- Do 10 to 12 reps per side, 3x.

- Add exercise band above knees for a challenge.

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Side-Lying Leg Circles

Pilates pro Kyle Georgina Marsh says leg lifts strengthen the piriformis.

- Lie on side, legs stacked.

- Lift top leg high then lower, 10x.

- Lift top leg to hip height.

- Rotate foot in a circle in each direction, 8x.

- Repeat on other leg.



Sports medicine surgeon Mark A Slabaugh, M.D., says doing this move daily will increase blood flow to the area and reduce inflammation.

- Lie on back.

- Cross affected leg, rest ankle on opposite knee.

- Bring knee in to chest.

- Hold for a count of 10.

- Repeat 5 times.

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Contract & Release

This exercise from therapist Kailee Venzin, DPT calms the piriformis muscle.

- Sit with back against a wall, both knees bent.

- Place hand on outside of affected leg.

- Press knee into hand.

- Push back with hand so knee doesn’t move.

- Hold for 3.

- Repeat 5x.

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Book Opener

Releasing lower back tension will take pressure off the piriformis, says stretch expert Mara Kimowitz.

- Lie on side, knees bent, arms straight in front of you.

- Lift top arm, open it to other side.

- Hold 15-30 seconds.

- Return to start.

- Repeat 3x per side.

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Lying Twist

Try this “pretzel twist” to take tension off your piriformis muscle, Schlottman says.

- Lie on back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.

- Place one ankle over opposite knee.

- Twist lower body by rotating hips until sole of top foot reaches floor.

- Hold 30 seconds.

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