I have only been running for a couple of weeks but recently have started to get painful stitches when I run. I have tried all the common suggestions but nothing seems to help. It doesn’t occur every time I run and the time they start varies during the run, sometimes after five minutes, sometimes after 30.
I have also experienced a pain in my side around my ribs, this is a constant pain like an ongoing stitch. I was wondering if the too were linked? I would be grateful for any suggestion or advice.


  • Hi!

    I have been running for a month and started out with stiches like yourself. What I have found that helps are:
    * Understanding what a stitch is
    As I understand it, it is the contraction of the muscle around your stomach, the diaphragm. It goes into spasm. By breathing deeply into your stomach area, you will be using this muscle. There are various ways to 'release it'.
    * When you are going on a run, go slowly so you are not pushing yourself. I think one of the problems I had was I was just started out, ate food beforehand, may be pushed myself and wasn't taking deep breaths down into my stomach.
    * Be careful of when you eat. If you eat a bit close to a run, you body has to cope with the new thing of running as well as trying to digest and it doesn't help it.
    * As soon as you get the feeling you might be getting one, slow down and take deep breathes right down into your stomach area. Look around and relax a bit. One thing to realise is it is a muscle spasm. By looking around as well as breathing deeply you may help your body forget to tense that muscle.
    * If it continues to be sore, slow right down or even walk. Walking is still healthy like running.
    * Don't worry about it. If you take deep breathes and relax into it and do some execise, your body will get into it. I have just done my first 10 K. I was enthusiastic and my pace increased more than it should. I started getting a stitch, so I slowed down, looked around, did deep breathes and relaxed and I finished it.

    Take care, have fun!


  • If I get a stitch I find that forcing my abdominal muscles outwards, rather as if I were taking the deep breath that Belle suggests, really works. I don't actually do it by breathing just by using the muscles. I don't know why it works for me unless it is releasing the muscle spasm but it does and might work for you too
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