#239 When can I run with stitches? - DOC

#239 When can I run with stitches?

Today on the Doc On The Run podcast, we’re talking about when you can run if you have stitches.

If you have an accident and cut the front of your leg open, you may have to have stitches to sew the skin back together.

Of course, most doctors will probably tell you that you should avoid exercise until your skin fully heals and the stitches are removed.

Depending upon the location of the stitches, it could take two or three weeks for the skin to heal.

Most runners don’t want to wait two or three weeks with no exercise while waiting for stitches to be removed.

Did the doctor tell me not to run with stitches?
The doctor tells you not to exercise because they want you to heal as quickly as possible.
Should I wait until the doctor removes my stitches before I run?
Yes. But if you are a runner you will probably go crazy if you wait until your stitches come out before you start exercising.
What are the risks of running while I have stitches?
4 Risks of exercise with stitches:
slow wound healing 
scar formation
Variables you can’t control:
location of injury
Variables you can control:
dressing – dirt, abrasion from clothing
type of exercise 
Main points:
No exercise for 48 hours (ice if doctor said to ice)
Incisions heal “side to side” not “end to end.” So the length of the incision has nothing to do with how long it will heal.
If you keep the incision and stitches dry and clean it won’t get infected
No swimming with stitches!
If you don’t aggravate the wound and pollen the stitches, the scar won’t get thicker
No pain with activity = probably okay to do that activity…even running.
No exercise that stresses the wound or stretches the stitches
Avoid contact sports, weight lifting, box jumps.
Apply ice on top of bandage after activity to prevent swelling.
Keep a dressing on it, change the dressing after exercise.
Watch for or control swelling…
Wear compression sleeves or compression socks over the bandage..
Call your doctor if any pain, redness, drainage, or signs of irritation.
And lastly, don’t cut yourself open again!


Photos of a wound before and after being closed with sutures. Photos by Jeanne Oostdyk, released under GFDL.