Pain in Liver Area While Running

by Jagjit

I am running nowadays and I complete 2.7 Km in 18 min.

But after completion of about 2.2 Km I experience intense pain in the liver area.

It remains there for a while and after some time it goes away.

The intensity of the pain makes me stand still for a while. Could you tell me what this is?

Also, is running on hard surfaces like roads advisable?

pain in liver area while running

Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your running questions.

Let's cover them off in order:

1. Your liver question
2. Your question about running on hard surfaces

Your Liver Question

It sounds like you are experiencing side stitches. These are not bad, but they can be pretty debilitating.

The problem is caused by your breathing. Inside your body, your diaphragm is connected to your liver, spleen and stomach. As you are running these organs move up and down.

Now, the diaphragm also gets influenced by something else. Your breathing. When you breathe out, your diaphragm moves up, as you breathe in, your diaphragm moves down.

Now consider the following thing happening:

You are breathing out as your right foot hits the ground. You breathing out pulls the diaphragm upwards. When your right foot hits the ground, your liver pulls your diaphragm downwards.

When you are breathing quite rapidly you might get in a pattern where every time the liver pulls the diaphragm down, your breathing pulls the diaphragm up.

Repeat that a few hundred or thousand times and this causes the tension that gives you side cramps or stitches.

It is likely that you need to slow down your running a little bit and try to make it more of a relaxed experience. Breathe in and out slowly. When you run, run with your mouth open a little bit, you'll bring in air through nose and mouth.

I think that will remove the side stitches. If not, even after slowing down a lot, you should consult a doctor.

Your Question About Running on Hard Surfaces

pain in liver area while running
Running on hard surfaces is tougher on the legs than running on soft surfaces. This is a fact. And many, many people get injuries on their lower legs or knees, which is often related to the impact that running has on the lower legs and knees.

So, always running on hard surfaces is not great. Ideally, you get a mix in of some running on bitumen, running on trails, sandy paths etc. Now the following advice always holds true. But if you are only running on hard surfaces especially. Slowly build up your mileage. Check out the Increasing Mileage Safely page.

Running is a very healthy and safe activity. Of course, running on soft surfaces is better, but there are many more benefits to running as to sitting on the couch watching TV, so do not let that deter you.

Keep on running, whether it is on hard or soft surfaces!

Hope this helps.

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