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What is a stitch - a new theory

There is now a new theory that has become widely accepted as the most likely cause of stitches. This theory suggests that we should look to the liver as the source of this pain.

The liver is attached below the diaphragm by fibrous bands called ligaments. As we run, gravity pulls steadily downwards on the liver, stretching these ligaments. Additionally, every time you exhale, your diaphragm pushes up, further stretching these ligaments. The combined forces cause you to experience a sharp pain in your side.

So if you experience a stitch, how do you get rid of it? There are two different remedies:

  • Stop running and press your hand firmly just below the pain. This should push the liver up, relieving the strain on the ligaments. Breathe in and out slowly as you do this to relax the diaphragm.
  • Stop running and touch your toes.
Try both and see which works for you - after pausing for a short while you should be able to run it off.

And next time you head out the door, be sure to warm up, and allow time for any food to digest properly.

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