Ear Pain While Running: Its Causes, Prevention And Treatment

You may have heard many people complaining of pain in their knees, hips and ankles during and after running. It is uncommon to hear about pain in ears while running, but it is true. Many people complain of annoying sharp earache when they run or while doing exercise.

Having various reasons for ear pain while running, there is no simple solution or cure. When you experience ear pain related with running and exercise, do not neglect it and consult your doctor to determine the exact reason. Let us know the causes for ear pain while running.

What Causes Ear Pain While Running?

  • When you exercise or run for a long distance, the blood vessels gets constricted. Similarly, the vessels supplying the ear canal and inner ear also constrict. It is a prominent reason for pain in ear while running. The condition is aggravated when you run in cold climate or on a high altitude. In cold climate the blood vessels in ear are already constricted and running may further constrict them. As a result blood flow in ear becomes restricted. Pressure builds up in the ear causing pain in ears.
  • Perforation of eardrum: Eardrum is a thin membrane which separates the outer ear with the inner ear. It protects the inner ear as well as balances the pressure. A small hole or tear may occur in the eardrum due to injury to the ear, change in air pressure, loud sound etc. Perforation of eardrum does not occur as a result of running, but an already ruptured eardrum can worsen the pain during and after running. Running will increase the blood circulation and high pressure will be generated in the ear canal. This will irritate the eardrum and cause pain followed by other symptoms such as vertigo, ear discharge etc.
  • Many people like to hear music while they run. They use earplugs to hear music. Earplugs that fit inside the ear are popular, but using them for long time may cause skin irritation and pain inside the ear. To avoid such pain, choose earplugs that fit comfortably in the ear without causing pain and irritation.
  • Ear infection, sinusitis, and migraine headache, can also cause pain in ears while running.
  • A flying insect entering the ear canal while running and jogging is not uncommon. It can cause pain in ears.

How To Prevent And Treat Ear Pain While Running?

Sharp pain in ears while running may last for a while in most cases, however sometimes depending on the underlying cause the pain may last for days and weeks. Pain may be accompanied with bleeding and ear discharge from the ear canal. Often with pain there is temporary loss of hearing.

  • Pain killer and anti inflammatory medicine is the usual treatment prescribed by the physician when the earache persists for a long time after running.
  • If the sharp pain in ear while running is caused due to rupture of eardrum, you should avoid running for few days. Most of the time, the eardrum heals without any treatment. But in severe cases, you may have to consult an ENT specialist who will repair the eardrum with glue or with surgery.
  • If the cause is due to a foreign body inside the ear canal, the doctor will extract the same or an insect with his instruments.
  • To prevent pain in ears while running, avoid going in areas with loud sound.
  • If you are jogging in high altitudes, wear earplugs that may equalize the inside and outside ear pressure.
  • Make sure to use right earplugs when you are listening to music while running and jogging.
  • Doctor will treat ear infection with antibiotics and anti inflammatory medicine if that is the cause for pain in ears while running.