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07 Jan 2003

More than just a stitch when running
Hi Doc,

I'd like to discuss a problem I'm having regarding stitches when I run.

Before you refer me to the article in your archive, I've already read it.

My problem is that I've tried the "belly breathing exercises" and it hasn't helped.

I'm an experienced runner (Comrades etc). Each time I run, I not ony get a stitch, but I get it in the exact same place every single time.

Funnily enough, it's worse on downhills. It normally happens at about 3km into the run, be it a slow or fast run.

I'm 28 fit and am not overweight.

Could it be that I have a hernia of some sort?

I went for a scan recently and it didn't show up anything unusual.

Im at my wits end as I want to run Silver in this year's Comarades and I need to get training seriously as soon as possible.

Please advise if you can.

Kind regards,
Answer 367 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Gareth

This is a diffucult question to answer, since you have already tried what I would have recommended (belly-breathing) and you discount the possibility that it could be caused by being undertrained, unfit or overweight! Furthermore, it is not exertion related, since you mention that you get it even when running slowly.
Unfortunately, some people are more prone to stitches than others. Have you carefully considered your diet before a run (liquid and solid), since this could bring on a stitch.
The only recommendation remaining, is to see a sports physician rather than a GP, since he/she might have a better understanding of the problem. Perhaps phone the Sports Science Institute on 021 659 5644 and either see a doctor here or ask for a referral to a sports physician in your area.

I'm sorry that I can't be of further assistance.

I also recommend that you forward this question to cyberdoc, in case he can throw some light on the matter.
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