Broken or bruised ribs
Broken or bruised ribs can be incredibly painful, but they usually heal independently.
Verify if you have a rib that is broken or damaged
Common causes of broken or bruised ribs include falls, chest blows, and violent coughing.
These signs include:
- Severe chest pain, especially when you breathe in
- Surrounding the afflicted ribs, swelling or discomfort
- Occasionally, skin swelling occurs
- You may feel or hear a snap
Like other bones, ribs are challenging to splint or support; therefore, they are typically allowed to heal independently
X-rays are only sometimes necessary.
What you can do on your own
Rib fractures and bruises heal similarly and typically resolve independently in 3 to 6 weeks.
You can take several actions to lessen discomfort and hasten the healing process.
- In the first few days, frequently apply an ice pack to the affected ribs to reduce swelling
- If necessary, take a break to rest
- To prevent chest infections, you should breathe normally and cough when necessary
- Place a pillow against your chest if you need to cough
- To improve your breathing and help you eliminate mucus from your lungs, move around and occasionally move your shoulders
- Take ten slow, deep breaths per hour to assist your lungs
- For the first few nights, attempt to sleep more upright
Seek an emergency
If you are:
- Having a significant injury brought on by an accident, such as a car accident
- Having worsening breathing difficulties
- Experiencing worsening chest pain
- Have stomach or shoulder aches
- Blood coughing
- Your pain did not diminish within a few weeks
- Having yellow or green mucus coming out in your cough
- Feeling shaky and hot, or your fever is high.
It can indicate that a broken rib has also injured your lung, liver, or spleen.
Things you should not do
- Avoid firmly wrapping a bandage across your chest to prevent your lungs from expanding usually
- avoiding prolonged lying or stillness
- Avoid straining yourself or lifting anything heavy
- Avoid participating in any activities or exercises that will make your pain worse
- Refrain from smoking; doing so could aid your rehabilitation
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022