Severe Kidney, Flank Pain After Exercise, When Running

KrisZ71 Asked :
I recently started gym for health reasons. I don’t have any chronic problems but being 39 years old, I felt that I should be taking better care of myself. By the second week of gym, I started noticing severe kidney pain if I run for more than 5 minutes or so and after exercising. The pain lasts for the rest of the day (I only go to the gym in the evenings). It goes down quite a bit by the time I get to bed but sometimes its last the entire night and even continues when I wake up the next morning.

I am worried that this is a sign that my kidneys are under stress and not coping well with the exercise. I have not seen any major change in the amount of urine or the color. I keep drinking plenty of fluids before and after working out so that I don’t dehydrate. My father had high blood pressure and kidney failure and passed on from a major heart attack. My blood pressure is perfectly normal.

Do you think that this kidney pain is a sign of it malfunctioning? I am only a few pounds overweight, have not been to a doctor in years but plan to go for a full physical soon.


This question was posted under the Kidney Pain Location and Symptoms article.

Any response by the Health Hype team does not constitute a medical consultation and the advice should be viewed purely as a guide. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your current treatment program. The information provided in this article is not an authoritative resource on the subject matter and solely intends to guide the reader based on the questions asked and information provided.


Dr. Chris Answered :
It is quite difficult to isolate kidney related pain. You are experiencing flank pain and this may not be related to any kidney pathology. There are many other structures around the kidney that could account for this pain. However, whether it is kidney pain or not, any severe pain should prompt you to seek medical attention. This pain could also be referred from other areas of the body, where a more serious pathology has gone unnoticed.

It is common to get flank pain during and after exercise and this is often muscular in origin. In terms of running specifically, the abdominal and back muscles have to work at their peak to stabilize the trunk during movement of the legs. Coupled with other exercises that you may be doing, you may be straining the muscles of the back and abdomen. Continued walking and movement after exercising will keep straining these muscles and rest will usually help ease the muscle pain.

Pain due to a kidney disorder cannot be ruled out until your doctor conducts further investigations and confirms/excludes any diagnosis. However, you should have noticed other signs and symptoms at this point if it was kidney related. You mention a long break from any medical attention as a means to illustrate your good health but before you started gyming, you should have seen a doctor and ensured that you were fit enough to start up on a strenuous exercise program.

In terms of hypertension (high blood pressure), there is a strong familial link and it is advisable that you have regular cardiovascular examinations or a full physical at least once a year from this age onwards. Hypertension is a silent killer and you may not know that you are suffering with high blood pressure until its too late. Long term, uncontrolled hypertension can lead to a host of complications including kidney failure. Please consult with your doctor immediately.