Broken rib...advice?

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Broken rib...advice?

#1 Postby veginator » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:56 pm

About 10 days ago I slipped and fell on the ice, landing chest-first on the recycling bin I was hauling out to the curb. I'm pretty sure I broke a rib. Thought it was just badly bruised at first, but had some pretty bad pain when I was trying to play basketball a couple of days afterward. The pain is significantly better since then, it just hurts to cough, move the wrong way when getting up, and a few other situations. But a place in my rib cage sort of cracks and feels like it's moving around when I move in certain ways, and there's still enough pain that I've been taking maybe 2-3 Ibuprofen a day. So I'm pretty sure there's a broken rib in there. From what I've been able to find out, really the only thing to do is take it somewhat easy and let it heal on its own for a few weeks.

So, has anyone had broken ribs before? How long did it take to heal? How active were you able to be while you were recovering? I've actually been able to run some without significant pain since my injury. Of course, I've avoided anything involving contact or sudden arm movements such as baketball, and weight lifting is out of the question for a few weeks, but am I wrong to think that it probably does no more harm for me to jog a few miles than it does simply to get up out of bed or cough (either of which hurts significantly more)?

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Re: Broken rib...advice?

#2 Postby Aaron » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:40 pm

I avoided lifts that caused me crazy amounts of pain (flat bench, pull ups, chinups) and cut my weights in half on the ones I could handle. It still hurt but I made it through. 6 weeks maybe 7 before I could start lifting heavier again.

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Re: Broken rib...advice?

#3 Postby damdaman » Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:23 am

If you broke a rib you'd know it... you probably wouldn't be able to get out of bed without severe pain. Ribs are a very bad injury and if you break one, you feel it in every thing you do, as pretty much every movement requires core movement. Also if you didn't notice bruising it's probably not broken.

However, it does sound like you may have a dislocated and/or bruised rib. If it's dislocated, you need to have it popped back into place. A chiropractor can do this, as can many first-aid trained folks. If it's bruised, there's nothing you can do but take it easy and let it heal.

I had several bruised and dislocated ribs when I first started training martial arts and didn't know how to fall properly. A badly bruised rib can take anywhere from 4 - 8 weeks to feel fully recovered. Mine usually took about 5 or 6 before they felt better.

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Re: Broken rib...advice?

#4 Postby Trev » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:45 pm

Veginator, it sounds like you might have a separated rib - where the rib tears away from cartilage. I've had broken ribs, which prevented me from doing any exercise and took about 3 months to heal. Everything I did was excruciating. I've had a slightly separated rib once, and right now I believe I have a badly bruised rib from body conditioning that went a bit wrong at my kickboxing gym a couple of days ago (shin in ribs instead of abs). I'm in a lot of pain, but nothing seems to be moving around in there like it shouldn't, so I think it's bruising. Hurts like hell though and it's bringing back memories of my broken ribs.

There's not much you can do, except take ibuprofen (I prefer to just live with the pain) and try not to stretch or contort your ribcage. Get rest, take it easy. Bruised ribs should heal within 4 to 6 weeks, and you can probably find some exercises that don't hurt them. If your ribs are separated a bit, you have to move around a lot less, and they will take longer to heal. You should probably go to a doctor and get x-rays.

Rib injuries are really painful. I'm onto my 3rd one in 4 years. :augenroller: The most frustrating thing is I'm missing kickboxing, BJJ practice and the rest of my training for a bit. :evil:

Oh yeah, while you're healing, be extra aware of how you modify your body movement to avoid pain. When my broken ribs were largely healed after 3 months, I had a very weak core and a bunch of back problems!

Good luck with your healing!

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Re: Broken rib...advice?

#5 Postby mtguy1976 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:23 am

Sounds like what most everyone else has said about it being bruised or you strained/tore the ligaments between them. I strained the ligament on my floating rib (the smallest rib at the bottom of your rib cage) in a muay thai fight I had. It hurt just to take a deep breath a week later. The pain got less and less after a month. I had to stay away from wrestling, pull-ups and swiming. Best of luck to you.

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Re: Broken rib...advice?

#6 Postby BASSIS » Thu May 21, 2009 1:19 am

I've done that a few times. Most people say you should go to a doctor and get x-rays and all that but If you've made it this far without coughing up blood you're probably better off saving yourself a visit if you have crappy health insurance co-pays (like I do). It'll heal on it's own in a few weeks. I've gone before and just had the doc tell me to take it easy for a few days and take tylenol if you need it. I didn't even get bandages, tylenol or anything!

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Re: Broken rib...advice?

#7 Postby rejackson73 » Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:43 pm

So back in early August/late July I thought I had broken a rib on a sailing endeavor. I was also in Australia so I didn't really want to test their health care (or risk my Visa issues). Did alot of reading online and it appears that for a broken/cracked/bruised rib there isn't much you can do...the important thing is that it doesn't pierce a lung or restrict breathing.

At first I couldn't bend over to tie my shoes, and if I sneezed or coughed the pain was just unbearable. Running was definitely out of the question (try explaining that to a 6 year old that wants you to chase him!). Now 6 weeks later, it still is sensitive to touch or when pressure is put on, but it's calmed down enough to get to running again.

Good luck!

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