Steve Fancis, the electric guard for the Orlando Magic, was involved in a car accident at the end of November. He suffered various injuries, but the most painful was bruised ribs. In his line of work you have to be able to move agilely without pain. Bruised ribs prevents this movement.
What are ribs? The human ribs collectively form the rib cage. The purpose of ribs is to surround the heart and lungs to provide protections. Ribs are bones and humans have 24 of them.
What are bruised ribs? Bruised ribs occur when a blow or blunt trauma impacts the ribs. The ribs will push against the surrounding muscle wall and bruise the area. You can think of this as pushing a hand against gelatin. You probably won’t push through, but you’ll leave a mark. The “mark” is what causes bruised ribs.
How do you diagnose bruised ribs? There is no real diagnosis for bruised ribs. You can have your chest x-rayed which will tell the doctor whether you’ve broken a rib or not. If you haven’t broken a rib, and your symptoms persist, you have bruised ribs.
- Pain when breathing or moving – since the rib cage is elastic it’s going to hurt every time you breathe.
- Some bruising may appear on the skin
- Difficulty breathing
How do you treat bruised ribs? The only way for bruised ribs to heal is with time. You can minimize the pain by taking an over the counter pain reliever. You can ice the affected area to minimize swelling if needed.
How do you rehabilitate bruised ribs? You need to continue to use your lungs as you normally would. If you don’t force yourself to take normal breaths you may develop pneumonia. Stretching exercises will help your rib cage regain the elasticity it lost.