Subject: Deviated Septum & Running
Posted-By: xx108 (ENT Clinic Moderator)
Organization: Organization For Community Networks
Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 16:49:22 -0700

I have a very restricted ability to breathe through my left nostril, I would say that I get about 25% airflow compared with my right nostril. This condition has always existed (I am a 37 year old male). It does not bother me during my normal day-to-day activities, but it bothers me quite a bit when I run, especially when I run fast. When I run, I have to breathe through my mouth only, if I am running fast, say in a race, after a while I begin to pant rapidly and I feel I am not getting enough air. I was always told to try to breathe through your nose when running.

I feel it holds me back because I am forced to slow down during races, but am not tired afterwards, and I feel I can run faster if I could breathe better.

I am curious if there is any treatment for the deviated septum, and if I did receive treatment, if I could expect any improvement.

Thank you

Reply: -------------------------------

The most definitive treatment for a deviated septum is by means of surgery known as a septoplasty. I have discussed the details of this type of surgery in previous discussions which you might refer to in the "review" section of the ENT clinic under various titles including "deviated septum" etc. In your specific case, since you are only bothered during physical exercise, a simple non-invasive alternative that would likely have a high probability of success would be the use of Breathe-Right nasal strips which are available in pharmacies or sporting goods stores. These are the strips frequently seen worn by professional athletes. When they are worn, they can be quite effective in temporarily improving the nasal airway that is partially obstructed by septal deviation or turbinate enlargement.


Steve Dankle, MD
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Milwaukee, Wis

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