Fractures and injuries: what to do when ribs are broken or cracked?
Broken or cracked ribs: a blow to the chest during a football match with friends or a walk in the mountains, but also a fall during housework; then pain in the ribs and shortness of breath
These are broken or cracked ribs.
A ‘trivial’ accident, but one that leads to unfortunately annoying pain and discomfort, which has different recovery and healing times.
Broken or cracked: rib recovery
A fracture can be healed in an average of 6-8 weeks, whereas a crack takes a little less time, about a month, but the therapy in both cases is the same: rest to allow the bones to calcify, application of ice to the painful area and painkilling drugs.
And above all, a lot of patience.
In the aftermath of the injury, sports and movements that may increase the heart rate and breathing, as well as movements that rotate the upper body and chest, should be avoided.
Broken or cracked ribs: how to recognise trauma
Very often patients confuse a real rib injury, i.e. a fracture or crack, with the pain of a simple ‘bump’ and delay consulting the doctor.
Usually the pain that increases with time and becomes much more intense when breathing is the first alarm bell.
Sometimes this pain may be accompanied by swelling and the appearance of a haematoma.
If the breath is actually taken, the situation may be even more serious because it indicates a ‘pneumothorax’, i.e. a collapsed lung, or a haemothorax, i.e. a pocket of blood in the chest cavity.
In such cases, it is essential to go to the emergency room for an X-ray and ultrasound scan to rule out possible complications and to check the health of the internal organs.
In fact, rib fracture is frequently associated with other traumas and complications also to the spleen and liver, especially if the last ribs are involved.