The Importance of Stretching your Piriformis! (for those of you that have experienced the elbow in the bum!)
The Piriformis is a lateral rotator so it turns your leg outwards; it runs from your Sacrum (the bottom of your spine) to your Greater Trochanter at the top of femur. Lying underneath the Gluteus Maximus.
The Sciatic nerve lies just under this little muscle and sometimes passes through it! Which is why when this muscle becomes short and tight it not only pulls your leg out laterally making your toes point outwards, it also compresses the nerve giving sciatic pain sensations, these can affect the lower back, around the hip, down the outside of the leg usually down to the knee, though in bad cases can reach the toes, it can also send pain through the groin and down the inner side of the leg.
Therefore have a look at the position of your feet when standing! If they are pointing outwards, stretch this little muscle out before you get the shooting pains and numbness! Also if you are experiencing a lack of mobility around your hips or getting discomfort when bending or squatting this is the muscle to work on!
Examples of deep glute stretches below. Get stretching!