By Michael Tegerdine, Physiotherapist
A stitch is a sharp, intense pain under the lower edge of the ribcage. As soon as you feel a stitch coming on, the best thing to do is slow down and put your hand over the affected area (e.g. ribs) and apply pressure. Whilst doing this you need to take slow deep breaths forcing the ribs through your breaths into the hand, like you’re trying to push your hand away using your ribs. Avoid shallow breathing, and ensure you breathe in deeply through your nostrils, and exhale using your mouth.
If you think your full stomach is the reason for you getting a stitch, then think smartly and eat better the next time. Try not to eat an hour before you play, and if you do eat, eat lightly or have complex carbohydrates (such as rice, grains or greens such as spinach) as they are digested faster.
Don’t forget, the more you play and the fitter you get, the less likelier you are to get stitches. Pilates, for example, helps strengthen your core muscles which lead to less frequent stitches.