How Long Does It Take Ribs To Heal


Check If You Have A Bruised Or Broken Rib

How to heal Fractured or Bruised Ribs quickly? – Dr. Raghu K Hiremagalur

Broken or bruised ribs are usually caused by a fall, a blow to the chest or severe coughing.

Symptoms include:

  • strong pain in your chest area, particularly when you breathe in
  • swelling or tenderness around the affected ribs
  • sometimes bruising on the skin
  • feeling or hearing a crack if it’s a broken rib

Ribs cannot be easily splinted or supported like other bones, so they’re usually left to heal naturally.

There’s often no need for an X-ray.

What Do Doctors Do For Broken Ribs

Broken ribs usually get better on their own within a few weeks or months, depending on how serious the fracture is.

It can be difficult to tell how serious a rib injury is, so see your doctor or go to a hospital as soon as possible if you have injured your ribs.

If you have broken three or more broken ribs or have other serious injuries, you will likely be admitted to hospital for treatment. This may involve surgery.

If your doctor does not think you need treatment in hospital, they can help by giving you painkillers to make sure you can breathe in and out without too much pain.

Your doctor may also recommend deep breathing several times a day, with or without a special device. This can help to prevent your small airways from closing off while your ribs are healing.

Treatment Of Rib Fracture

Treatment of rib fracture and the length of recovery depends on the severity of the injury. Sports injury treatment using the P.R.I.C.E. principle Protection, Rest, Icing, Compression, Elevation can be utilized as well as the use of anti-inflammatory or pain medication.

Unlike other fractures in which the bone is immobilized to reduce pain and enhance the healing process, the ribs cannot be effectively immobilized because they need to expand in order for the individual to breathe. Because of this, pain medication is used to make the athlete more comfortable.

There appears to be some controversy as to whether to strap or tape fractured ribs. Some sources suggest taping while others state that the taping is not recommended because it may aggravate the injury.

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How Can I Tell If I Have A Broken Rib

Sharp chest pain happens with a broken rib. But itâs different from a heart attack:

  • If you touch the spot where your rib is broken, it will hurt more.
  • Your chest will hurt more when you take a deep breath.
  • The pain will get worse if you twist your body.
  • Coughing or laughing will cause pain. There may also be bruising, depending on the cause.

Virtual Care From Sports Doctors And Specialists

How Long Do Bruised Ribs Take To Heal : Thomas varghese explains what ...

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Limited Movements While Sleeping

This is the most uncoordinated section of reducing pain while sleeping. While you are asleep, you are not aware and conscious about moving.

However, the pain in your body will not let you move as rapidly as you used to earlier. But, other than that, try to restrict the body movements while sleeping.

It would help if you did not wrap the ribs. Also, a pillow can help you from rolling on either side. You can also use a pillow to cough to cause little disturbance in the ribs.

So, these are the cautions you can follow to prevent significant problems while sleeping.

Other than these, you might consult your doctor to give you medications that will reduce pain. However, taking huge amounts of painkillers is harmful to the body. So, consult your doctor and know about the specific dosage.

When Should You Call For Help

911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have severe trouble breathing.

or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You have a new or worse cough.
  • You have new or worse pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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Recovery From Rib Fractures

Rib fractures can take weeks to months to heal, depending on how mild or serious the fracture is. In general, any broken bone will take 6-8 weeks to heal. The worst pain is usually the first 1-2 weeks and gets gradually better after that.

Healing time also depends on the person. Healthy children usually heal quickly. Older adults or adults with other medical problems, like osteoporosis, can take longer.

Its important to follow all your doctors instructions while your fracture is healing. He or she will recommend that you eat a healthy diet that includes calcium, vitamin D and protein. He or she will also recommend that you:

  • Avoid doing certain activities that make the pain worse
  • Avoid smoking. A fracture can take longer to heal if you smoke

How Do I Know If I Have A Broken Rib

How to Take Care of Bruised Ribs

The most common causes of rib fractures are car accidents, falls, and sports injuries. Believe it or not, severe coughing is a common cause, too. The risk of rib injury increases with advancing age, brittle bones , and low bone density .

A break in one or more ribs can make the area painful to touch. The pain can worsen with a deep breath, laughing, or body movements like twisting and turning. If you have severe pain that gets worse with deep breathing, sneezing, or coughing, get medical help.

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What About Physical Therapy

Along with rest, ice, heat, and breathing therapy, physical therapy may ease your discomfort and speed your healing. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist after making a diagnosis.

A physical therapist can give you tips for sleeping like trying a recliner so your chest is elevated and for loosening up in the morning. Following a physical therapy program can help you get back to your usual activities sooner.

What Pain Medications Can I Take For Fractured Ribs

Several options for managing your pain are available, but its important to be aware of possible side effects. For example, prescription pain medication along with decreased activity, can cause constipation.

Treatment for pain relief can include:

Be sure to follow the prescribing instructions, and contact your healthcare provider if you have questions about your medications.

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Risk Of Serious Injury

  • Pneumothorax collapsed lung due to changes in pressure within the chest. This could be caused by a broken rib tearing the lung or a puncture in the chest wall. Symptoms can include breathing difficulties, chest pain and coughing up blood.
  • Cardiac and associated blood vessel injury for example, trauma to the blood vessel servicing the heart or a tear in the main artery of the body .
  • Splenic rupture the spleen is located on the left side of the abdomen. Its roles include filtering the blood to remove abnormal cells and the manufacture of some immune system cells including antibodies and lymphocytes. Splenic rupture means the outer capsule has split and the spleen bleeds into the abdominal cavity.

What Is A Rib Fracture

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A fracture is another word for a broken or cracked bone. Depending on what caused your injury, you may have one or more broken ribs. These can occur on one or both sides of your chest.

Injuries significant enough to break your ribs can also cause damage to organs in the chest or belly. These organs can include the lung, liver or spleen.

Some rib fractures, called stress fractures, do not happen after an injury. Instead, you get them when you have a severe cough or a repetitive motion, like swinging a golf club.

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How Should You Sleep With Bruised Ribs

Now, lets take a look as to how you should sleep if your rib has been bruised somehow. Often people seem to ask about bruised ribs pain lying down. So, these are how you can sleep to get a comfortable nap.

The pain wont allow you to sleep in the usual sleeping position, which might be a bit uneasy for you. If you sleep on your back, then the upward anti-gravity movement of your chest can cause pain.

So, adjusting the sleeping position will make you feel better, and sleeping will not be as painful as before. So, here are how you can change your sleeping position.

Can I Do Anything To Accelerate The Healing Process

The expected time it takes for ribs to heal is fairly standard. Although you cant accelerate the bone healing process, there are many things you can do for self-care during this time.

Managing pain with over-the-counter pain relievers can be very helpful. Medications taken by mouth, lidocaine patches, and icing the injured area can reduce pain and discomfort.

Listen to your body while youre recovering, and adapt what youre doing. Dont do anything that makes your pain worse.

Avoid activities that put pressure on your ribs, such as lifting, pulling, and pushing objects.

Dont place a wrap around your chest, because it can prevent the lungs from expanding, which can lead to pneumonia.

Tips and tricks

  • See a physical therapist, if recommended

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Is It Normal For Ribs To Hurt After Open Heart Surgery

Common Symptoms Swelling or knot-like lump at the top of your chest incision. This often goes away in six to eight weeks. Aches between your shoulder blades, over the ribs, in the back of the neck, chest or leg incision. This may last for many weeks and lessen with time.

Do they take your heart out during open heart surgery?

Your heart will not be stopped during surgery. You will not need a heart-lung machine. Your heart and lungs will continue to perform during your surgery. Surgeons use a tissue stabilization system to immobilize the area of the heart where they need to work.

How do ribs heal after heart surgery?

During heart surgery, the sternum is split to provide access to the heart. The sternum is wired back together after the surgery to facilitate proper healing. During the healing phase, the wired sternum is vulnerable to the expansion of breathing muscles, which may loosen the wires over time.

How Do Doctors Treat Broken Ribs

5 Ways to Heal Your Rib Injury Quickly

Breathing exercises, as well as rest and pain management, are commonly used in the treatment of fractured ribs these days. The presence of a flail chest or numerous rib fractures that are creating breathing difficulties are both indicators of the need for surgical intervention.

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How Long Do Broken Ribs Take To Heal

Most simple rib fractures are treated at home. However, others, such as injuries from a serious accident, may require hospitalization first. Either way, youll have a pain-management plan in place upon your return home.

If you break any of your ribs, the treatment is mostly supportive. That means you wont need surgery or another intervention, just time and patience. It takes time for hard bone to replace soft bone and heal the fracture.

The human body is good at repairing itself, and itll usually complete the healing process by a minimum of 6 weeks. Ribs can take longer to heal in older adults, smokers, and individuals with osteoporosis.

Tips To Relieve The Pain Of A Broken Rib

The pain that a broken rib can cause is very intense, and can even persist with the intake of medications. To alleviate them, we offer you some tips that you can apply at home during recovery.

  • To relieve pain and decrease inflammation from the injury, apply ice packs for 20 minutes for every hour that you are awake for the first two days. Then apply the cold for 10 minutes three times a day or whenever the pain is severe.
  • To avoid nausea and vomiting, eat small portions of food several times a day and drink liquids in small sips . The soda cracker helps relieve nausea considerably.
  • Avoid making any effort or weight lifting, to prevent the bone from moving sharply.
  • Do breathing exercises to prevent a lung infection or collapse. Breathe deeply and slowly. Cough gently every two hours. To make coughing less painful, you can hold a blanket or pillow against the broken rib.
  • Physical activity is not entirely contraindicated. It is important for recovery to take walks or daily activities. The ideal is to spend the whole day immobile. In general, the activity is suggested by the doctor after verifying that the breathing exercises are being effective and that the pain is already under control.
  • You should not twist your torso even while sleeping.
  • Do not smoke , tobacco can make it difficult to breathe, even if only the smoke it gives off is repeated.
  • In the following article you will find an explanation about the foods you should eat to strengthen your bones .

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What Types Of Rib Injuries Are There

There are a number of possible injuries involving the ribs including stress fractures, nondisplaced simple fractures, displaced multiple fractures, and costochondral separation .

Rib stress fractures can be seen in athletes with a history of violent muscle contractions as can be seen in the sport of weightlifting. Stress fractures can also be seen in golfers, rowers, and baseball pitchers.

A stress fracture is a small partial fracture in the bone. These can be painful, but are not dangerous and have a good prognosis with rest and time for healing.

Simple nondisplaced rib fractures are most commonly seen in ribs five through nine from blunt force to the front or back of the body. A simple nondisplaced fracture means that there is a break through the bone, but the bone ends remain in their original position. These types of fractures also have a good prognosis with rest.

However, displaced multiple fractures can be life-threatening. Displaced multiple fractures can leave sharp bony fragments that may puncture the pleural sac surrounding the lungs. This can lead to a pneumothorax or a collapsed lung. These types of injuries are the most serious with the athlete needing immediate emergency medical treatment.

How Are Rib Injuries Diagnosed

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Usually, a rib injury diagnosis is made from the details you give to the doctor plus a doctor’s examination. Ribs which are broken are painful, particularly with movement, deep breaths or coughing. The injured area is tender when pressed.

Rib fractures may show on a chest X-ray. If a rib fracture is suspected, the main purpose of a chest X-ray is to look for complications rather than to diagnose the fracture itself. Therefore, if complications are not suspected and you are otherwise well, you may not need an X-ray. X-rays are not used unless necessary, because of the radiation involved. This especially applies to women who are, or who may be, pregnant.

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Can Old Rib Fractures Cause Pain

In the event that youve ever suffered from rib fracture , you know that this sort of ailment can result in excruciating agony. A rib fracture is distinguished by the fact that taking a deep breath makes the discomfort greater. Pain from a cracked rib might even make it difficult to breathe, which can result in a chest infection.

How Long Does It Take To Heal

Bruised ribs usually heal within a month or so, but that process can take longer if one or more ribs are actually broken instead of bruised. If youre initially diagnosed with bruised ribs but the pain isnt easing after a couple of weeks, tell your doctor. More imaging or another evaluation may be necessary.

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What Could Happen When You Break A Rib

Your ribs have two main jobs:

  • They help protect the organs in your chest.
  • They help you breathe by keeping space open inside your chest while the muscles you use to breathe squeeze in, or contract. This leaves plenty of space for your lungs to fill up with air.

The muscles used for breathing pull on the ribs, so breathing may be very painful when you have a fractured rib.

It is important to see a doctor after a rib injury. A blow that is hard enough to fracture a rib could also injure your lungs, spleen, blood vessels, or other parts of your body. A common injury when you have a fractured rib is a punctured or collapsed lung .

Flail chest is a serious problem that happens when three or more ribs are broken in more than one place. If you have flail chest, the broken area can’t hold its shape when you take a breath. This leaves less space in your chest for your lungs to open and air to flow in. It also makes it harder for the muscles to work well, so it’s harder to take a breath.

Fractured Ribs Still Painful After 2 Months You May Need Surgery

Proactive Approach to Treating Rib Fractures

Ribs are like a bicycle helmet. They are made to take the brunt of an impact to keep your delicate organs safe. If they break, doctors cant just put a cast on them. Youre going to need time to heal. While 85 percent of rib fractures heal on their own, in more extreme cases surgery may be needed. Dr. Thomas Varghese explains what warning signs to look for with more severe rib fractures and when surgical intervention is needed.


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Dr. Varghese:

Dr. Miller:

Dr. Varghese:

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