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The Piriformis Test is used to detect sciatic pain arising from piriformis muscle involvement, often referred to as the piriformis syndrome. This test is also known as the FAIR test, which stands for Flexion, Adduction, and Internal Rotation.
With the patient in the supine position, flex the hip and knee to bring the heel to rest against the inside of the opposite knee. Then push the knee across the midline to cause horizontal adduction of the hip. This test is considered positive if it produces pain in the posterior hip and buttock region or if it causes sciatic symptoms in the leg.
This final posture produces a maximum stretch of the piriformis muscle. Since the sciatic nerve passes close to, or in some individuals, through the piriformis, hypertonicity or inflammation of the muscle may irritate the nerve and cause sciatic pain. This test can also be performed with the patient lying on their uninvolved side.
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