Why am I getting stitches?

Soldato
Joined
20 Jul 2008
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4,261
Hi guys,

This is starting to bother me now. I've been running all summer now and have started to run longer runs than what I'm used to. I just ran a 5.3 mile run in 35 mins, 2 seconds. Towards the end my stitch was unbearable, at the end of the run I had to sit down for a good minute before the pain faded. It was on the right side of my chest.

What annoys me is stitches have been keeping me back. When I finished the run I was barely out of breath and my heart wasn't particularly beating hard, so I feel I could be training much harder.

Should I get it checked out with a doctor or is this entirely normal? Anything in particular cause stitches, lack of food/too much food? I haven't eaten since 1pm.

Many thanks
 
Soldato
Joined
28 Nov 2005
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Depends I suppose on what you ate at 1pm?

If I plan a run I'd eat something light about 2hrs before I went and just fuelled up on water beforehand really.

There is probably a more scientific way to do it but this works for me
 
Associate
Joined
6 Jul 2003
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2,075
I think a stitch is caused when blood is transferred away from the stomach to your muscles while your stomach is digesting. Hence, it's telling you to stop running so the blood can return and digestion can resume.
 
Soldato
OP
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20 Jul 2008
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I don't understand, seems a logical explanation but I only had a few sandwiches and some fruit for lunch. I did the run a good 4 hours later.

Makes sense as I never get them when I do morning runs before breakfast.
 
Soldato
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7 Mar 2008
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Kent
I think its where your stomach muscles get stretched too much and/or overworked, overused. Which could be to do with the travel of food.

Think about where you actually feel the stitch, your stomach is just underneath your rib cage. The stitch is usually lower down and I can feel it in the muscles, near the surface.
 
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Soldato
Joined
25 Sep 2006
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14,143
I always thought stitches were in the lung :confused:

Silly me! Makes sense thinking about the pain in relation to your stomach.

I tend to just run through them by zoning out somehow. Don't get them too badly when I do which is rare. Often eat 2/3 hours before running. But I don't run that often.

I wonder if you'd get a stich on a rowing machine, bike or a x-trainer? Most people only seem to get them when running...
 
Soldato
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Chelsea
I thought it was something to do with you breathing when your right foot goes down and you need to de-link your breathing from your stepping.

Could be complete tosh, and now I've written it, it seems quite likely.
 
Soldato
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7th Level of Hell...
It can be caused by breathing and/or technique as mentioned, landing hard over and over again on the same leg as you breath in deeply and sharply. Course, when you get a stitch, your running technique then goes to pot and you start landing awkward more to try and take the pain off and it gets worse :(

If you feel it coming on then change your breathing to see if it helps i.e. start the intake of breath on right foot for 3 steps and breath out for 2 steps and then breath in again over a 3 step period.... This way your intake breath starts on opposite feet each time.

Works for me but it might be digestion in your case....
 
Soldato
Joined
12 Aug 2004
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Oop North
as far as I am aware, no really knows for certain what causes stitch.

It might be blood diversion, or it might be breathing patterns, or a lack of fitness, dehydration, etc.

I used to get them a lot, now, i don't, but never really found out why. Try checking breathing patterns, and see if you have a regular exhale combined with a foot strike. If this happens always on the same footfall, then this might be causing the stitch, try varying the pattern.

thje best way to cure it is to condition the muscles in the abdomen by "core" training.
 
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