A stitch in time

By Meeghan, 5 August, 2008

A localised pain usually felt on the side under the ribs is called a stitch. It will often occur whilst running and while the stabbing pain can sometimes be “run out”, most of us are forced to stop and cease exercise until it passes.

Scientists are unsure of the exact cause of the stitch but it may be caused by the two layers of the peritoneum (membranes lining the abdominal cavity) rubbing together. However dehydration or eating just before exercise may exacerbate this condition. Poor fitness, an inadequate warm up and exercising at high intensity may also be factors.

So, after eating allow 2-3 hours before exercising and hydrate all day rather than just before a run. A stitch is rarely a sign of more serious problems but if the pain is persistent you should see your doctor.

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