have been running for 18 months and am plagued with stitches - left or right side, sometimes shoulder. my training has been going well, but feel I can't reach my full potential - ran 10k yesterday and suffered from start to finish. don't eat or drink for several hours before a run, not sure what else I can do - anyone help?


  • Hi Sooz

    Stitch normally relates to an area just under your rib cage - shoulder pain is probably something else.

    Do you get them with any other form of exercise, such as swimming or cycling? When you get one, does it go off if you walk for a minute or two?

    I'm stumped on this one - might even be worth getting a quick medical check up?

    I have heard that this sort of problem goes away after a few months - but 18 months?

    Anyone else got any ideas?

  • I would aslso like to know the answer to this question. I find that I get a stitich for what I see as no reason and then if I concentrate too much on trying to get it to go away it can actually worsen. I only tend to get a stitch on my right side. I also find that I get a brurning sensation in my shoulders. I have read somewhere that if you stretch out the muscles it can relieve the stitch - have tried it and sometimes it seems to work but I'm not convinced.
  • do quite a lot of other exercise from kickboxing to yoga with no problems. occassionaly have ache when walking though. stitch can come and go at anytime and did ask Doc about it at last visit - nothing to worry about. I did wonder if it was anything to do with my breathing...I do try and breathe naturally and not think too much about it - don't feel tense, but maybe am though - could this be causing the problem - how do you breathe naturally?
  • I try to breathe as naturally and relaxed as possible - I try to keep my mouth shut and only breathe through my nose - I don't know if this is the correct thing to do though. I tried those nose strips at the weekend and found they helped my breathing quite a bit - I didn't get a stitch on that run although don't know if I can credit that to the strips or not yet.
  • thanks keen runner - tend to do the opposite - breathing through my mouth. will try the nose strips though...worth a try and seems to work for Paula Radcliffe!
  • I am having the same problem with stitches. I have been running since Feb 2002 and get a stitch every time. The only thing that seems to work to get rid of the stitch is to bend over and touch my toes. The stitch though always seems to come back. It is always on my right side. Does anyone know of any strenghting exercises I can do to stop the stitches occuring? It has really put me off running and I think I may give up. I never get a stitch when I do other forms of exercise such as cycling or swimming.
  • Hi Sally,
    have every sympathy...stitches can be just miserable! Although my abs feel quite strong (do a Karen Voight abs & back pilates vid a couple of times a week), doesn't seem to make any difference to the frequency of my stitches. Am trying the nose strip to help with my breathing and am permantly plugged into some music to try and distract me from waiting for the stitch to kick in. Wouldn't give up running just yet...surely there's some remedy out there that we haven't yet tried - here's hoping anyway!
  • Hi
    It is very true that the more you think about it the quicker the stitch comes on. I read somewhere that they have something to do with the bounce and the strain that it puts on your ligaments. Have thought about trying a different pair of shoes as mine are air-cushioned. Feel I am clutching at straws but it is good to know that I am not the only one. Thing is I really enjoy running and would like to go faster/farther but after running for 25mins with a stitch its not much fun, as you know! May give the nose strips a go. Where do you get them from?
    Cheers Sal
  • Sally,
    bought breathe easy strips from local chemist and as the're clear, not too obvious! struggling with regular breathing just now as have a stonking cold, but planning a 10K at weekend, so will see how I get on. Like you, would love to run longer and further so anything is worth a try.
    Good luck with strips - let me know how you get on.
  • Hi there,

    There is a bit in this months RW mag about stitches.. simple rememdies include:

    breathe out like you are blowing out a candle

    tense abdominal muscles as if you are about to be punched in the stomach

    Can't remember the others, and havent had a stitch since to try out the tips!

  • I find that the candle blowing out really works
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