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Stitch In the Side Explained

Do you ever get the annoying and painful stitch in your side when you are running? I do and I really don't like the sensation and went looking for a "cure."


It seems that there was no good explanation for the phenomenon until recently, and before that it was just referred to as exercise related transient abdominal pain (ETAP). How's that for vague? The pain is caused when the ligament that attaches your liver to your diaphragm gets stretched. Most runners tend to exhale every 2 to 4 step and those that exhale with stepping on the right foot tend to be the ones who suffer from the stitch. When the right foot hits the ground it pulls the liver down and the exhale is simultaneously forcing the diaphragm up, so the ligament gets over stretched, and that causes the pain.

To cure the pain, stop running immediately, reach your fingers into the right side of your belly and push your liver up. Breathe in and out evenly as you do this. Hopefully you can return to running with no pain.

Fit's Tip: To avoid getting the stitch in the first place, focus on taking deep breaths while running since short and shallow breaths tend to make the diaphragm spasm.

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