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How to Avoid a Stitch When Running

You're not alone if you've ever been sidelined by a side stitch.

According to research, roughly 70% of runners experience this phenomenon once a year. A stitch is a localised pain on one side of your abdomen that is also known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP).

Stitches are more commonly associated with cramping and aching when they are mild. When the pain is severe, however, runners describe it as sharp and stabbing.

Even if your stitch is minor, you're probably curious as to why it occurs, how to stop it, and what you can do to avoid it in the first place.

What are the possible causes of a stitch?

A side stitch can happen to anyone while running or doing activities that require a lot of torso movement. However, some activities are more likely to cause stitches or increase the likelihood of getting one while running.

You skipped your warmup.

If you have weak core muscles or don't warm up properly before going for a run, you're more likely to get side stitches during your workout.

Dietary options

Side stitches can also be caused by eating a high-fat meal or drinking sugary beverages less than 1 or 2 hours before running.

How do I get rid of a side stitch?

Here are some suggestions for stopping a side stitch in its tracks:

Take it easy.

The goal of running is to keep moving forward. Slowing down and changing the cadence of your breathing should be the first strategy you try.

Arms and abs should be stretched.

Stretch your arms overhead and then to the stitch's side. For 30 seconds, stay in this position. You may need to repeat this process a few times to feel better.

Apply pressure to the stitch.

Stop running and step out of the way if you feel a stitch coming on. Place your hand in the area where you feel the stitch coming on to locate it. While inhaling, press down on the area. Push a little deeper into the painful spot with each exhalation.

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