If you’re a runner, then you’ve probably come across running stitches from time to time, and as painful as they are, they’re usually here to stay till the end of your run or they’ll just fade away on their own accord.
Running stitches affect most athletes and most commonly appear in the abdomen, diaphragm or shoulder and usually occur from drinking to much fluids or reduced blood flow to the diaphragm or jolting motions that cause stress on the ligaments that connect the abdominal organs to the diaphragm. A recent study from the City To Surf community run has shown that 27% of contestants complained of stitches during this race. With so many possibilities of what causes these stitches, its best to follow a few golden rules before you head out for a run.
- Don’t eat a lot of food before running and if you have to eat, it’s best to eat 2-3 hours before exercise. This allows the stomach to empty into the small intestine. The last thing you want is food bouncing around in your stomach which is what causes a stitch.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, but in small frequent amounts. This actually reduces your stomach walls from overstretching.
- And stay away from highly concentrated sugary drinks before and after exercise. These types of drinks leave your stomach distended for longer which increases the amount of friction being generated. Friction = stitches. Water or sports fluids are the best choices.