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Why Do My Ears Hurt When I run? The Reasons, Prevention, And Treatment Tips

It is not very uncommon to hear people complain about pains and aches in the body while and after they run. It ranges from pains in legs to knees to pelvic region to ankles, hips, thighs and other parts of the body. However, it is quite rare that you hear people complain about their ears as they run. It is rare but not impossible. There are a large number of people who suffer from a sharp and irritating pain in the ear as they are running or doing any type of vigorous exercise.

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The reasons and causes that may be underlying this annoying pain may be several. And similarly, there is no one exact solution to this problem. It is always advisable that whenever you identify such a peculiar pain in the ear and you are able to relate it with the workout or running session, it should not be neglected or ignored.

Consultation with a qualified professional medical practitioner is a must. Through various tests and examinations, he or she will be able to diagnose a reason for the pain and also advise a treatment. For general informational purposes some common causes of pain in the ear during or after running are provided below:


This is the most common cause of earaches. When you cover large distances by foot and that too at a running speed, the blood vessels often shrink. This is a simple reaction of the body to the vigorous exercise, especially if it is carried out at low temperatures and places which are situated at heights.

The low temperatures and variations in the air pressure result in stressful force exertion on the eardrums. The blood channels that supply blood to the ear are also affected with this force and are therefore constricted. When a reduction of blood supply to the eardrum occurs, it limits the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange causing accumulation of oxygen in the internal portion of the ear. This pressure inside the ear leads to intense pain as we run or exercise.


The reversal of acidic fluids of the stomach into the esophageal region leads to a problem called Gastroesophageal reflux. Commonly referred to as GERD, the initial symptoms of this condition cause heartburns and indigestion. Other outcomes of this disorder include.

  • Sore throat
  • Chest pains
  • Cough
  • Ear pain

If GERD is not treated at the right time, it may result in ear infection that keeps coming back. Studies have revealed the most patients of GERD suffer from ear pain while and after they exercise or run. During running, our body and digestive system keeps on bouncing around. So the stomach fluids are more likely to follow a reversal path and aggravate the problem.



A not so common problem, but many people who have ruptured eardrums may feel the pain while running or exercising. This ear condition is identified when the specialist finds tiny holes or tearing cracks in the thin layers of tissues located inside the ear cavity.

This health condition is mostly accidental in nature. The damage is caused by variations in air pressure, sudden loud noise, injury to the head region, different types of ear infections and intrusion of alien objects inside the ear cavity.

If the ruptured ear drum is not treated timely or you continue with the exercise and running activities, the vigorous movement may further enhance the damage and cause increased discomfort and pain. Running and exercising also increases the blood flow to various parts of the body. This includes the ear as well.

The increased blood flow in the ear enhances the pressure on the eardrum and leads to painful irritation. Sweating and jerking only worsens the situation.


Many people are in a habit of listening to music as and when they exercise or go out for running.\ Usage of ear phones or ear plugs is very common for this purpose. Although they are designed to be comfortable and convenient, very prolonged utilization can be stressful.

While running, they might move in and out in a jerking movement can cause pain. They also lead to enhanced pressure of the ear cavity that increases the painful irritation.

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In addition to the above mentioned, there are also a number of other reasons why a person may feel pain while running. Sinusitis and migraines are two of the most popular reasons. Many times we might be feeling this pain because of the throat infection or entry of an insect or ant inside the ear cavity.


The pain that we feel in the ears while running should not be taken casually. It is a serious problem and at times it can linger on even after we stop running for several days and even weeks. Prevention and treatment of this situation is, therefore, a must.

If it is ignored or neglected for longer periods of time, it may aggravate the underlying reasons and lead to ear bleeding, fluid discharge and even loss of hearing in extreme cases.

Although visiting and consulting a doctor is a must, some important guidelines and tips that can come in handy are provided below:

  • The most common medicine that can be taken when a person feels this kind of a pain is an over the counter pain killer. Any anti-inflammatory medicine to complement it is also effective for the purpose.
  • Once the pain subsides, it is better to get the ear examined and tested by the doctor. Finding the underlying reason for pain should be the top priority. Based on the cause, the medicine and treatment should be adopted.
  • If the reason for ear pain while running is a perforated eardrum, then giving your exercise and workout regime a break for a few days is the most appropriate thing to do. Leaving it as it will give it time to recover and heal. But if the problem still persists, a surgical repair procedure might have to be adopted by the doctor.
  • The pain due to the foreign object or insect will be treated by removal of the same by a professional health care practitioner or staffer.
  • Avoiding loud and noisy areas is a must for those complaining of ear pains while running
  • Running and jogging at places situated at heights and altitudes should always be done wearing ear plugs for equalization of pressure.
  • Utilization of the appropriately shaped and designed earphones is a must while listening to music. Also, avoid using them for long periods of time
  • Any type of ear infections or throat problems should be treated with antibiotics and other medicated drugs that can be taken orally or applied inside the ear.


There you have it. Now you know that having pain in your ears while running is not something out of the ordinary​​​​​.
It is quite possible and it might happen for a number of reasons. The key is to get it treated without wasting any time.

For any further queries on the topic, you can always contact us.

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  1. This actually has not happened to me yet nor have I heard someone suffer from something like this, but I’m happy that I’m better informed that this actually is something that does happen to people when they run. Thank you for the tips! (I got a bit concerned because I use earphones when running, but at least it was well explained. Just not too much of it! ha ha)

  2. I have had a friend complain about pain in the ear, though it was handled with pills as recommended by a physician. However, I never cared to know to the remote causes. I am so glad I stumbled on this blog, I have learned something new today.

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