General Advice

I have a Stitch!

Dr Alex Eade (Osteopath)


Have you had the dreaded stitch during your iso run? It feels like a strong cramp in the stomach that can leave you gasping and kneeling in pain. They can be really painful and also detrimental to your performance. 


So what can we do to prevent and relieve this issue?


The cramping pain is usually felt in the mid outside abdomen area near the ribs. They have also been known to give referral pain to the left shoulder tip.


Even well trained runners experience this condition, although they tend to experience them less often.


What causes stitches?

The exact cause is still unknown but the main theories are lack of blood supply to the intestines, irritation to the intercostal nerves that supply innervation to the ribs and cramping of the diaphragm.



Nutrition timing – avoid eating large meals and meals that consist of high fat and dairy before running. Avoid carbonated soft drinks before running as well.

Breathing exercises designed to promote belly breathing can help prepare the expansion of the rib cage

Thoracic mobility – warming up prior to running with specific mobility exercises of the thoracics can improve movement. Check out the video below to get that mid back moving.

Improve fitness – Can still occur with higher fitness, likelihood does decrease


What to do if you get one?

  • Take slow deep breaths, focus on belly breathing and not the upper chest.
  • Try and stretch the painful area
  • Push on the sore spot
  • If all else fails then stop running until it ceases


Try a few of these out and hopefully it helps you reach your running goals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *