General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Can you swim with stitches? Rss Feed  
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2009-06-11 7:52 PM

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Subject: Can you swim with stitches?
Well, I know I can, but should I?



2009-06-11 7:59 PM
in reply to: #2212039

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Expert
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
Yes. I busted my hand open 3 days before a race in France and got some stitches. Did the race and then clean the S*** out of it. No problems.
2009-06-11 8:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
Coat them with some Aquaphor...no worries (or excuses!!).
2009-06-12 9:22 AM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
I've had a little experience with this, and I'd say it really depends on where they are.

If they are in a place where your swim stroke will put stress on the incision, I wouldn't.

If they are someplace where they little or no stress, I would.

I've done both....had stitches and didn't swim, and had stitches and swam.

JC
2009-06-12 10:38 AM
in reply to: #2212039

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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
I say no, personally. Granted I'm just a surgeon. Wounds don't regain all of their tensile strengh until about 4 weeks out. Until then there's an increased risk of wound breakdown, ugly scars, and non-healing since immersion in water is bad at the cell and molecular level in a healing wound.For any surgical site I'd say absolutely not. For a sutured cut, laceration, etc depending on location and type of closure I'd say you really shouldn't and if you do, you're risking wound related complications.
2009-06-12 10:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
DrPete - 2009-06-12 8:38 AM

I say no, personally. Granted I'm just a surgeon. Wounds don't regain all of their tensile strengh until about 4 weeks out. Until then there's an increased risk of wound breakdown, ugly scars, and non-healing since immersion in water is bad at the cell and molecular level in a healing wound.For any surgical site I'd say absolutely not. For a sutured cut, laceration, etc depending on location and type of closure I'd say you really shouldn't and if you do, you're risking wound related complications.


I actually laughed out loud at your post. Finally, an opinion on a topic that comes from an expert!!!

Trishie, ride that new bike, wait until the doc says to get into the water.


2009-06-12 10:53 AM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
I'm not a surgeon but I did sleep at a holiday inn last night, so my vote would be NO. Plus take into consideration that the stitches are on your face. Why risk a scar???
2009-06-12 10:58 AM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
DrPete - 2009-06-12 10:38 AM I say no, personally. Granted I'm just a surgeon. Wounds don't regain all of their tensile strengh until about 4 weeks out. Until then there's an increased risk of wound breakdown, ugly scars, and non-healing since immersion in water is bad at the cell and molecular level in a healing wound.For any surgical site I'd say absolutely not. For a sutured cut, laceration, etc depending on location and type of closure I'd say you really shouldn't and if you do, you're risking wound related complications.


That helps explain why the scar is still so ugly years later!
2009-06-12 11:03 AM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
I agree with what others have posted.  Yes you could swim with the stitches but you are risking disrupting proper wound healing which could result in a nasty scar (not to mention the risk of getting the cut infected).  I would personally wait until the stitches are removed and the wound is closed.  
 
2009-06-12 11:04 AM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
I'd say "no" too. But only because my surgeon told me not to until my incisions healed. (The last time I had surgery.)
2009-06-12 11:12 AM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
I would only do it if I had a race.  Otherwise, stay out of the water until it's healed.  Can't say it better than Dr. Pete.


2009-06-12 11:16 AM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
DrPete - 2009-06-12 11:38 AM I say no, personally. Granted I'm just a surgeon. Wounds don't regain all of their tensile strengh until about 4 weeks out. Until then there's an increased risk of wound breakdown, ugly scars, and non-healing since immersion in water is bad at the cell and molecular level in a healing wound.For any surgical site I'd say absolutely not. For a sutured cut, laceration, etc depending on location and type of closure I'd say you really shouldn't and if you do, you're risking wound related complications.


Dr. Pete, about that rash....oh, nevermind, wrong forum.
2009-06-12 12:19 PM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
I GUESS I'll listen to the doctor

The stiches are in my chin so I don't think swimming would pull on them... but yeah okay outta the pool for a bit (not too long though !)
2009-06-12 1:09 PM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
I just had stitches a month ago and the ER doctor told me not to swim until the stitches were removed.  The skin around the wound would scar bad when getting all wet and wrinkly.  it was on the tip of my finger so I am sure the force of the stroke would not have been good for it either.  Cycling and running were no issues.
2009-06-12 3:50 PM
in reply to: #2213619

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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
trishie - 2009-06-12 1:19 PM I GUESS I'll listen to the doctor

The stiches are in my chin so I don't think swimming would pull on them... but yeah okay outta the pool for a bit (not too long though !)


When I had surgery last winter my doc told me two weeks out of the pool.  
2009-06-12 3:58 PM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
tri_d00d - 2009-06-12 9:16 AM
Dr. Pete, about that rash....oh, nevermind, wrong forum.


Wycillin. Cures a host of what ails you.

John


2009-06-12 4:00 PM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
You could have done what I did.  I gashed my head the day before a race.  I told the ER doc what I was doing the next day so he used glue instead of stitches.

I got my first podium and a cool scar above my eye. 

As for swimming with stitches, IMHO, that's a better question for your doc than a forum.
2009-06-12 7:49 PM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?
DrPete - 2009-06-12 8:38 AM I say no, personally. Granted I'm just a surgeon. Wounds don't regain all of their tensile strengh until about 4 weeks out. Until then there's an increased risk of wound breakdown, ugly scars, and non-healing since immersion in water is bad at the cell and molecular level in a healing wound.For any surgical site I'd say absolutely not. For a sutured cut, laceration, etc depending on location and type of closure I'd say you really shouldn't and if you do, you're risking wound related complications.


I agree with the good doctor.  The sutures are holding your body together by being laced thru small puncture wounds.  These puncture woulds, which are impossible to keep really clean, are susceptible to infection due to contamination, especially immersion in water.  As your body attempts to fight off the infection, the wound is inundated with white blood cells which have a scouring effect making the wound red painful and sometimes swollen.

The doctor also makes an excellent point regarding the tensile strength not being at 100% until about four weeks out. Nothing worse than a busted up halfway healed wound.

I think I would focus on biking and running until about two weeks post suture removal.  But thats just me.

Mark Nicholson
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2009-06-12 7:56 PM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?

My doc said no to swimming, biking and running.  Mine were on my nose where he removed a skin cancer.  I thought it had more to do with preventing an infection than scarring...  There are some nasty little bacteria and other microscopic critters around water - especially nice room-temp water!

2009-06-12 8:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Can you swim with stitches?

trishie - 2009-06-11 7:52 PM Well, I know I can, but should I?

NO.  Risk of infection is too great.

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