Post appendicitis - how soon can I run?

My training for the Berlin marathon was well on track, then I got an acute bout of appendicitis about 2 weeks ago. I've had the blighter removed, but my surgeon says I won't be able to run for four weeks after the surgery, which means I'll only have four weeks then before the marathon. He also says that it will be three times as hard to run it than normal because of the surgery.

My question is - what are other people's experiences of running after having their appendix removed? I had keyhole surgery and am walking completely normally. How soon can I get back into my trainers?


  • I am a surgeon and a runner, I've removed about 60 appendixes myself in the last year, by key hole.

     The point of doing the operation by key hole is so that you can get back to normal quicker. However every case of appendicitis is different, and the infection itself can take as much out of you as running the marathon, depending on how much comtamination there was, if you didn't have any further antibiotics after the surgery, then it was just inflamed which means you're very unlikely to have any further problems from the infection side, and running effect that.

     The other issue is the surgery, where they put the cuts. Usually after keyhole appendix operations you will have a longer cut at the tummy button and 2 smaller ones lower down. The main risk from running is developing a hernia at the longer cut. This is more likely after straining or lifting heavy things which would increase the pressure, but port site hernias are very rare, I've seen about 3 in the last 5 years, none of which were from Appendix surgery, and they are much more common in fat patients or diabetics.

     If it was me, I would certainly avoid swimming, don't want to get an infection in the wound. I'd start back walking, and when that doesn't hurt at all, slowly go back to running, I'm sure that would be in less than 4 weeks.

    I'm strongly considering having my appendix removed electively, as having seen so many really manky ones, I don't want mine to pop at an inconvenient time!! Maybe during the winter when I hate running anyway!

  • How lucky am I getting a response from a surgeon! Thanks for the advice. I'm 10 days post-op at the moment, have had no problems with infection (possibly due to the anti-biotics I was on for four days afterwards) and am walking with no problems at all. Am seeing my surgeon tomorrow, but not being a runner, he doesn't really understand the desire to get back into training.

    If you had a patient who had their appendix removed 8 weeks before a marathon, and was doing good training (up to 16 mile long runs) prior to the operation, would you say that running it would be a really bad idea, if everything else had gone well post-operatively?
  • I think every person is different. I ran my first marathon with a cold, and my second with 10 days of training. I currently probably have a stress fracture, but that should be healed in 6 weeks so I'm still planning to run an ultra marathon in 2 1/2 months.

    But having said that people do drop dead running marathons and half marathons and there's no way to predict it. There's no way to predict when you will become injured either, but if things go well you'll be really proud that you did it, and vice versa.

    I would say see how you feel when you start training again. You don't need to make any final decisions until the day of the race. Don't run more than 5 or 6 miles in your first week back, but if you can build up to further that 13miles before your race, still allowing for a reasonable taper, go for it. If you don't finish, you've got a good excuse! If you postpone to next year, there will always be another excuse.

  • Sensible advice. Thanks. I'd just be so bummed to miss this one because I already had to miss Paris this year because I got amoebic dysentery half way through my training for that. Nothing like a good, recurring bout of dysentery to mess up a training plan.

    As for your plan to have your appendix removed pre-emptively, do it. Having seen your fair share of inflamed appendices I'm sure you know that it's not pleasant. Infact, I can say that along with dysentery it is the most painful thing I've ever experienced. Who needs it - no-one. Get rid of them all!!
  • bloody hell - a sensible medic.......

    don't see many of them around these days....well, bar a few on these fora...

    out of interest - what % of the population is expected to have an appendix removed?? only ask as mine has been with me all my 55 years and never had a grumble from the little thing (tempting fate now!) and same for my missus. and are appendix ops less common than they uased to be?? just curious...
  • There is a 1in 7 lifetime risk having your appendix removed, it is difficult to know exactly if it is increasing or decreasing because the exact definition varies. More appendixes are being taken in the last few years because of key hole surgery, making it easier, and once you're in there you might as well take it out, otherwise if the symptoms come back you end up repeating the procedure if you haven't. We see plenty of 60,70 and 80 year olds with appendicitis, and the one 90year old I saw died from it.
  • ta for that

    I wonder if elective appendectomies will either be offered by the NHS or by private clinics?? it's not the sort of thing you would naturally think of having done although I can see the benefit - somwewhat akin to elective plastic surgery in that you don't need it but it could make you feel better!!

    I believe that it can be offered to those undergoing abdominal surgery or caesareans - as you say, if you're in there you might as well do a little bit of tidying up!!
  • Elective appendicectomies vs incidental ??

    Not sure Insomniac meant the former (but ??) 

    What's the complication rate from the op ?  Adhesions post op ?

  • Might be controversial but I ran within a week.

    Never had any complications

  • ( hoping Insomniac still around)

    Just home from an open appendicetomy ( started laparoscopically but the little ***** had lots of omentum wrapped round it). Too sore to sit upright properly yet but wanting to start planning exercise - as a type 1 diabetic, the longer I don't exercise, the harder it is to get the right doses of insulin again . . . . Was thinking that I could start with those wierd reclining bike thingies in the gym, once I can manage the ten walk to the gym . . . . .

    Anyone with advice/experience?

  • Sounds a good plan.

     Take regular paracetemol, but stronger pain killers (like Ibuprofen and volterol) may slow down the healing slightly. And if you need  morphine type painkillers, you probably aren't ready to do too much exercise.

    Just do what you can in the gym, as long as it doesn't hurt. After about 1 week - 10 days, start massaging the wound with moisturiser, as firmly as you can tolerate with the pain. This helps with the scar, but also helps the pain settle quicker.

     I'd be very interested to hear how long after the surgery until you are back running without pain.

  • Refused morphine type painkillers - they make me very dizzy, which I hate . . . and won't take NSAID's as longstanding diabetes/previous vomiting blood with them . . . .  (I'm a pain, ain't I?)

    Tried walking to the shops today, but got light headed after about 1/2 mile and had to take refuge in the library for a sit down. Ridiculace (?spelling). Don't look as if I'll be able to walk to the gym at least untill the end of the week. And the stupid scars are now deciding to get REALLY itchy, so I can't sleep. Taking a third extra basal insulin and my sugars still running high.

    Don't think I really like this being sick lark - can I be 16 again please?

  • The itching is quite normal although irritating, try the moisturiser, or even piriton, which can be bought over the counter, but makes you sleepy (useful for the itching that keeps you awake)

    If your sugars are still running high, and you're feeling light headed, that's a sign that there may be ongoing infection inside, especially as it was a nasty appendix to start with, have a very low threshold for going back to you GP, who may give you a further course of antibiotics, or even send you back to hospital if your temperatures high. Definitely see your gp if you temperature is over 38degrees C.

  • Never had a high temp . . .  Actually now feel much better - went for a half hour walk (x2) yesterday, blood sugars much more normal today - I now feel like a well person with a pain, rather than a sick person . . .

    So I guess it takes about a week for all the inflammation and stuff to calm down. Hopefully anyone else will find this usefull . . . .

    Today, I'm gonna try the Wiifit stuff - hulahooping, boxing etc.

    Maybe the gym tomorrow!

  • First proper run today, no problems! (except the ice and snowimage) Ran for 40 minutes . . . .

    Did a test run, 25 minutes at gym 2 dayus ago - which would have been 13 days post-op

    There is still back ground pain, and I have a funny lump deep to the scar, but the scar moves over it . . . . otherwise no troubleimage

  • Hi Guys,

    Just picked up on this thread and wondered if the doctor could advise or those of you who have suffered something similar to me. So I was supposed to be running 2 marathons in 2 weeks in April (

    Unfortunately I had appendicitis and had to have an urgent operation on Feb 27th. Of course I've ruled out doing both marathons; however, is it still doable to just run London? I was initially going to have key hole surgery but when they started operating they opted for open surgery due to my appendics exploding. I've had the staples removed today and have ran a marathon in the past on 3 days notice so if I was to avoid any training and just ran the marathon a lot slower is this doable? This would be my 5th marathon.


    Thanks x

  • Haven't been on this page since my above posts pretty much - I started running again after my open appendicectomy (on the 26th Jan i think), thought I was taking it slowly, and did a 10k first week of May. And haven't run a 10k since - a couple of days before the run i was in a car crash (well, nudge, really, as we were all pretty stationary but car behind me nudged me, I nudges car in front, hitting my right knee against steering column in the process). During the 10k I got a very deep pain in my right thigh and had to walk the second half. And although I have tried running since, been to orthopaedics, and (lots of) physio, every time I get up to running for half an hour or so I get pain in my right thigh/hip. It has been diagnosed as a trochanteric bursitis but I can't help but feel it is connected to the appendicetomy in some way. Overall, I don;t think I really felt right until a good six months after the op (much easier to see in retrospect) and would really caution you to go slow.

  • InsomniacInsomniac ✭✭✭
    Sorry to hear this.

    From the cut in the skin you should be able to jog round. They don't actually cut any muscle, they just separate the muscle fibres. So if it was just a question of when is it safe to run because of the cut I would say probably from about 3 weeks as long as it's healed. But I think the problem will be tiredness from the infection, I suspect that if you try to run at that point you will feel totally wiped out. But everyone recovers differently so you could try and easy 1 mile run and see how you feel. But I really think that you will struggle to run 26 miles after 6 weeks because of the fatigue. Why don't you defer your place and then you can enjoy running it in a years time, the London Marathon is an amazing event, don't risk not being able to make the most of the experience.

    Let me know how your recovery goes.
  • Hallo Insomniac,

    Thanks for all your very good advice. As a very very keen Triathlete and Quadrathlete. Kayak as a extra. Which sport can I start after my Operation. Can I try to get in a Race kayak after the stitches are out? Swimming you mentioned was not good because of the infection?? Do you mean germs from the swimming pool or from the drying of the wound? Apperiate any advice as I know I must be careful but sport is my life. I coach as well. Thanks

  • I was making great progress in training for my half marathon...up to 10 mile long run. Then, BOOM, emergency appendectomy with a half marathon only 2.5 weeks ago. Surgery went well, recovery was quick, doc gave me the okay to run the half at my post op appt., saying I wouldn’t hurt myself, would just not run my best run. 

    I ran the half, felt great, started getting tired at mile 11 but no pain. However, by the next afternoon I started getting  crampy pains and nausea that have been constant for over 24 hours (nausea comes & goes). No fever, just uncomfortable crampiness. I’m so nervous I hurt myself. Any ideas on what this crampiness could be??

  • I had my Appendix removed 10days ago I thought it was a torn muscle as I’m training for a Ultra, when I spoke to the surgeons after the operation they told me I also have a inaugural hernia on the same side (pubic area) I’ve been informed to return in 6weeks for a assessment and then I’ll receive a date for mesh to be fitted. <div>
    </div><div>I’m wondering can I run in my current situation? I’ve been out walking pretty much ever other day post op 5-6miles. I’m gasping to start running, just worried about making the area worse as I’m only young. Also considering going to the hospital to try push the operation forward. </div>
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