Piriformis foot pain is a pseudo-sciatica symptom that can result from compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle. Foot pain is not a common expression of piriformis syndrome, with most pain being reported in the upper rear and outer side of the affected leg(s). However, some patients do cite lower leg symptomology, as well, including piriformis knee pain, ankle pain and of course, foot pain.
When foot pain occurs, there are many possible causes that might explain the suffering. Localized issues in the foot itself might be responsible, as can pathology in the ankle or knee. Sciatic nerve involvement is often a speculated origin of pain and this might involve a wide range of causative conditions in the spine, as well as lower in the pelvic/buttocks anatomy.
This report explores the potential causes of foot pain in relation to a piriformis source process. We will also examine alternative explanations for pain to assist patients in avoiding the common fate of misdiagnosis and subsequent failed treatment.
Piriformis Foot Pain Expressions
Foot pain might involve a variety of unique expressions in select patients, including all of the following symptoms:
Pain might be regional, such as in the frontal foot, bottom of the foot, top of foot, heel, or may be located generally throughout the entire foot.
Pain can range from dull to sharp, with or without the addition of other related symptoms, such as tingling, numbness or weakness.
Some patients might demonstrate a dorsiflexion deficit, also known as foot drop, making them unable to elevate the frontal foot.
Foot pain usually exists with other related locations, such as leg pain, knee pain and ankle pain. In some very rare cases, foot pain might be the only expression of piriformis-enacted sciatic nerve compression.
Piriformis Pain Mechanisms
Foot pain caused by piriformis syndrome is a direct consequence of constriction of the sciatic nerve. This largest of all anatomical nerves in the human body is responsible for facilitating the transference of motor impulses from the brain to the legs and sensory impulses from the legs to the brain. When the nerve is compressed due to piriformis spasms, it can not function properly and will demonstrate a range of potentially painful symptoms known as pseudo-sciatica.
In cases where the piriformis is locked in spasm, patients might suffer chronic and predictable symptoms, However, in cases where spasm come and go, symptoms might start and stop, relocate and become variable in their expression, which is a very frequently observed characteristic of virtually all manner of sciatica syndromes.
Piriformis Foot Pain Alternative Causes
Piriformis syndrome is just one possible source of foot pain and can exist along with other potential origins. Therefore, no assumptions about the true causative process should be made without diagnostic evidence linking the expressed symptomology to the underlying true source. Alternate causes of foot pain might include any or all of the following mechanisms:
Localized soft tissue or neurological concerns can cause a wide range of problems in the feet. These conditions can result from injury, over pronation in association with flat feet, excessive standing or even wearing high heeled shoes.
The sacroiliac tissues might be the actual source of sciatic nerve compression in some patients, instead of the piriformis muscle.
There can be spinal causes of true sciatica, including arthritis, herniated discs, vertebral migration and atypical curvatures all leading to central and/or neuroforaminal stenosis and the existence of one or more pinched nerves. The nerve roots from L4 to S3 form the sciatic nerve and are capable of creating foot pain symptoms, particularly when L4, L5 or S1 are compressed.
Ischemia is a common cause of pain in many areas of the body and is virtually always caused by mindbody interactions. Oxygen deprivation syndromes can cause the piriformis to spasm and compress the sciatic nerve and also might attack the viability of the sciatic nerve itself, creating symptoms even if the piriformis cramping is resolved. Knowledge therapy is the preferred course of treatment for these conditions, demonstrating excellent curative results for indicated ischemia syndromes.