Could dry needling change the kinematics of gait in individuals with piriformis muscle syndromes? Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2024 Jan:37:323-327. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2023.11.058. Epub 2023 Dec 8.


Introduction: Piriformis muscle syndrome (PMS) is a condition that can lead to symptoms including gluteal pain, local tenderness, and limitation of hip joint motion in daily activities, and it may have a major impact on some daily functions such as gait. We proposed that dry needling (DN) can improve the gait of individuals with PMS.

Methods: Thirty-two individuals with PMS were assigned equally and randomly to the treatment group or the wait-list control group. Subjects in the treatment group received three sessions of DN of the piriformis muscle. All participants in both groups were educated to correct their lifestyles. The outcome measures were the gait-related parameters (walking speed, peak hip flexion, peak hip extension, time to peak internal and external hip rotation, and knee sagittal range of motion), which were evaluated at baseline and after treatment. To compare different outcomes, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used, with baseline as the covariance and groups as a factor.

Result: After DN sessions, peak hip extension during gait showed a statistically significant difference [adjusted MD 1.9 (3.7-0.08), p < 0.05, d = 0.56 (0.1-1.28)] in favor of the DN group. Peak hip flexion, on the other hand, exhibited a marginal statistically significant difference [adjusted MD -3.2 (-6.51 to 0.01), p = 0.053, d = 0.44 (1.16 to -0.02)] compared to the control group.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that participants in DN showed significantly greater peak extension angle of the hip during walking in individuals with PMS than in the control group.

Keywords: Dry needling; Gait; Kinematics; Piriformis muscle syndrome.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Percutaneous Collagen Induction
  • Piriformis Muscle Syndrome*
  • Walking