No seriously. My Piriformis. Back in September I fell/slid down the companionway of our boat in France and landed on the left side of my butt. I got a grapefruit-sized bruise on there, and it turns out it included this muscle that is way down underneath the rest of your butt muscles called the Piriformis. I am capitalizing it because why not.
It turns out everyone with hips has two of these things and their job is to open your hips, that is to say pull the outside of your femur back toward your spine. I guess it’s a fairly important muscle although I had no idea I even had one — two, in fact — until I bruised it.
Anyway the tricky thing about bruising your Piriformis is that it runs right over your sciatic nerve, which is really a big bundle of nerves that pretty much operates your leg. When the damn thing gets bruised, it can get scar tissue on it, and this (I discovered) can produce an exquisite little inconvenience called Sciatica. Sciatica is another word for “My leg hurts so bad if I don’t sit down right now I’m gonna fall over, and also all my leg muscles are atrophying.” If you’ve never had it it’s hard to explain how debilitating it can be. Also having it and complaining about it of course makes you feel like an Old Man. It’s just excellent all around.
There’s not a hell of a lot more to this story other than that my Piriformis did eventually heal, with some help from an acupuncturist here in Boston who was truly excellent, and that took care of the sciatica. I still have some leg weakness three months later that I’m trying to train my way out of. I find this particularly disturbing because I’ve always had reasonably strong legs and it’s mildly horrifying to find out one of them can just sort of wither away over the course of a few weeks, because of something as trivial sounding as a bruised Piriformis.
Denn alles Fleisch ist wie Gras
und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen
wie des Grases Blumen.
Das Gras ist verdorret
und die Blume abgefallen.
A decent translation is here…