October 06, 2013
Diagnosed with “Lazy Runner’s Bum”? Here's What To Do About It
For all you runners out there, I know you’ve heard of Runner’s Knee but have you ever experienced what a Runner’s Bum feels like? The medical term for it is called: Piriformis Syndrome Essentially, Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle, located in the buttock region, spasms and causes buttock pain. The piriformis muscle can also irritate the nearby sciatic nerve and cause pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot. So literally, it’s a pain in the butt. Being a religious runner, I’ve been constantly injuring myself and feeling pain in both my knees and hip region. Trying to self-diagnose, I googled pain the butt and found that it could be the symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome. However, I wanted a professional opinion so I scheduled an appointment to see a podiatrist and he put me through running assessments on the treadmill, analyzed how I walked and ran, and came to the conclusion of what is known as a “Runner’s Bum”. On top of everything, I do suffer from having flat feet which is the main reason of all this pain I’ve been experiencing in my knees and it is also major cause of Piriformis Syndome. My lack of strength training has caused my gluteal muscles to become very lazy and when I do put pressure on my hip region by running, it simply isn’t strong enough to sustain the level of running I do. Therefore, I am much more prone to injuries and soreness when I train. Now, the podiatrist will be making custom insoles for my flat feet but he gave me a really simple tip today in which I saw a difference right away. He told me when I run, keep your posture straight and tall, and lead with your knees and then your legs should follow. I instantly felt the pressure alleviated from my knees, the treadmill was much steadier, and I felt much better running. So here are my tips if you are suffering from this type of pain: 1) Stretch Before AND After Every Run Not only should you stretch before and after, but if you are outside, take a break every now and then just to stretch out your legs and gluteal muscles. 2) Don't forget to Cross-Train! This is something I probably need to incorporate more into my exercise regiment. I tend to focus on cardio and have failed to realize the benefits of resistance training and building my muscles. For this reason, my gluteal muscles have been dormant and the level of running I do will put extra strain on it and thus, I am more prone to injuries and soreness in this region. 3) Seek Professional Help If you persistently feel pain, do not ignore it in hopes that it will fix itself and go away. Find a sports doctor and he/she will be able to give you a much better analysis of your condition. If I didn’t go see mine today, I would probably continue to get more and more injuries and eventually, I most likely will not be able to train anymore. You can also see a massage therapist to just help you loosen out those muscles or what I’ve been doing is rubbing my bum with a tennis ball on the floor. This actually feels really good! 4) Get Off Your Butt Sitting all day can result in overactive hip flexors and weakened glutes. Strengthening those rear muscles will alleviate stress on the piriformis muscle. Also, if you do have to sit for long periods of time (I have 7 hours of class on Saturdays), sit in a chair with good posture and your legs at 90 degrees. When you do get a chance to break, make sure you get off the chair and do some simple stretching to make sure your glutes keep active. 5) Rest and Restore If you really do feel pain, please don’t keep pushing yourself as you can damage your joints even more. Allow yourself to rest a few days, ice, compress, and eventually you should be able to get back to your exercise regimen in no time. I’ve also read that if you take glucosamine and fish oil supplements, it will improve your joint health and this is crucial for people who run a lot. I can’t wait to get my custom insoles in a few weeks. Fingers crossed I won’t feel any more pain!!