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Broken Bones - Broken Ribs

Updated on March 3, 2017

This time I am writing this hub because I have suffered a bicycle crash and hit the ground with my chest, face and also the arms.

At first I was worried with my wrists and face because of older injuries (Broken Wrists & Reconstructive Maxillofacial Surgery) and I did not noticed I had hit my chest hard on the ground.

Only a couple of days later I realized something was not right with my ribs. It was just while I was playing soccer in the beach with some friends that I started to feel the pain on my chest every time I tried to breath faster or deeper.

Chest X-ray

Photo owned by adamci @           Click to see full-size image.
Photo owned by adamci @ Click to see full-size image.

Rib Fractures

A rib fracture can be described as a a break or fracture in one or more of the bones which form the rib cage. Most of the times a rib fracture it is caused by a trauma or impact to the chest (fall, motor vehicle accident or impact during contact sports).

Many broken ribs are only cracked but sometimes it happens complete bone fracture with one or more pieces making it more dangerous as it can cause some kind of damage on major blood vessels or internal organs.

The first rib is rarely fractured because of its protected position behind the clavicle (collarbone). However, if it is broken serious damage can occur to the brachial plexus of nerves and the subclavian vessels.

Fractures of the first and second ribs may be more likely to be associated with head and facial injuries than other rib fractures.

The middle ribs are the ones most commonly fractured so the most commonly fractured ribs are the 7th and 10th.

A lower rib fracture has the complication of potentially injuring the diaphragm which could result in a diaphragmatic hernia.

Rib fractures are usually quite painful because the ribs have to move to allow for breathing. Even a small crack can inflame a tendon and cripple an arm.


After an accident or fall when you suffer an impact in the chest area you should look for the following symptoms:

  • Pain when breathing or when you bend or twist your body;
  • Pain that gets worse when you press on the injured area;
  • A portion of the chest wall moving separately from the rest of the chest;
  • A grating sound with breathing or movement.

My Chest X-ray

Click to see full-size image.
Click to see full-size image.

My diagnosis

Looking at the symptoms I only miss the grating sounds but never the less I went to take a x-ray just to confirm if I had any fracture.

Fortunately there wasn`t any visual fracture so I was lucky getting away from it with just a luxation of one of my upper ribs.

After a week the pain is still there but it´s bearable and doctors recommended I take pain killers which I haven´t took yet... let´s see if I can manage to stay away from those drugs.

I´ll wait a couple more weeks without riding my bikes so that the injury can heal and the pains go away.

How to Treat Bruised Ribs


Every time your chest suffers a hard impact which could mean you have broken one or more ribs it is better to check (x-ray) if it is really broken to avoid complications like damages to other tissues or organs.

There is no specific treatment for rib fractures but various supportive measures can be taken. In simple rib fractures. Pain can lead to reduced movement and or cough suppression and to avoid secondary chest infections adequate analgesia can be used.

Spontaneous fractures in athletes generally requires a cessation of the cause, whilst maintaining cardiovascular fitness.

In case of sever chest injuries treatment options may include internal fixation/repair of rib fractures by means of screws, plates and sutures.

It is important to remember that the pain killers are meant to help you take strong and deep breaths. This breathing exercises will help you keep a good respiratory health while recovering from the broken rib.

So don´t be afraid to take the medication if you see you can´t make those deep breaths as pain control will allow deeper and stronger breaths.


If you ever went through this kind of injury please leave your comment and share your experiences with us.


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    • profile image

      Liz 10 months ago

      Wow I am also dealing with a cracked rib as a result from my car accident and I didn't notice it right away either as my wrist was in a lot of pain. How long did it take for your rib to heal?

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 7 years ago from Portugal

      During the recovery time I was very much cherished by lots of Hubbers who shared great informations with me. Now I´m happy to say I´m fine... no injuries for the time being (hope it last forever). Thanks for your kind comments ;)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 7 years ago

      Dear FunRide ~ Just meeting you on Hubs and took a tour over this broken bone story of yours. Ow! That hurts. By now, you must be on the mend. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Storytellersrus recommended ARNICA for the bruising. This is the number one homeopathic remedy known and used for injury, contusion, black and blue and worse for touch. Taken in frequent or high potency at the initial shock of injury, it does wonders. There are other remedies used to help bones knit back together, or for injury that is worse on movement. Having an emergency homeopathic remedy kit handy can be a life saver. Blessings, Debby

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 7 years ago

      so glad your getting better, i broke one rib and fractured another right below. The worst part is it was caused from coughing so hard and continually from a sever chest infection, the worst of it all is i was still coughing after and yes, it takes forever to recover, and i still have flashbacks and fears that it will happen again. I think it was worse than childbirth, i swear ha

      your new fan, kimberly

    • samiaali profile image

      samiaali 7 years ago

      Hey funride, I am sorry to hear about your accident. It sounds like you had pretty bad injuries. I hope you heal soon!

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 7 years ago from Portugal

      Hi Storyteller, thanks for stopping by and for your precious tips. Much appreciated :)

      BTW, how is your nephew David? I followed his journey and for me he became a hero ;)

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      OMgosh this is really poignant, funride. My total sympathy. When my son was little he broke his collar bone. There was nothing to be done but stabilization. And I gave him arnica montana- a homeopathic tablet by Boiron. When I brought my son in for his recheck, the doctor was astonished. "There is no burr! There is always a little bump on the end of the bone when it heals!" I attribute that to the arnica. Sport Medicine programs at the University of Denver support use of this plant- or used to anyway, I am not current- which can also be applied as a gel, externally. Just a thought... Hang in there, hero man.

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 7 years ago from Portugal

      Oh no... please... don`t take away my bike, I promise I´ll be more careful in future :)

      This kind of accident it´s normal and happens to everyone who ride mountain biking... I believe it´s just like any other sport - there are injuries we can not avoid. But I´m ok now and already riding with no limitations ;)

      Thanks for taking care of me and for passing by.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Funride... I missed your hub. My dear young friend, what are you doing? That's it no more you're cut off that bike or better yet mama(me)is coming over there and I'm mounting training wheels onto that bike of yours. hahaha

      you gotta be more careful

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 7 years ago from Portugal

      Hey RA, welcome to Hubpages :)

      Thanks for passing by and commenting.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 7 years ago from USA

      Wow! Sounds like a bad crash, and painful injury. But a good, well written article.

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 7 years ago from Portugal

      Ethel, thanks for commenting and for the kind words :)

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      You have been in the wars lately. Get well soon.

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 7 years ago from Portugal

      Hey Micky Dee, thanks. The bike was alright (she´s tougher than me) LOL

      The acident happened while riding my MTB on a enclosed trail with lots of vegetation... there was a hidden ditch... no need to say that ditch "swallowed" my front wheel and the rest you can figure it out eheheh.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Funride Dude!!! I'm really sorry that happened! Dang it man! Of course the most important question on every cyclist's mind -how's the bike? I can relate to your injuries Funride. I've broken most ribs I guess- both clavicles, scapula. nose a couple times or three, wrist, hand, finger, bulging discs, etc.

      Was that Mountain bike or road? Get better Bud and let's keep that rubber side down. You've had it rough lately. Be careful will ya?

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 7 years ago from Portugal

      Thank you eovery and Jim, things are getting better. Thankfully it wasn´t broken so I´m expecting a fast recovery.

    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 7 years ago from ma

      Ouch! I wish you the best.

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Sorry to see you in that shape. Thanks for the update.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 7 years ago from Portugal

      Hey artspeck, thanks for passing by.

      @ eternaltreasures - I´m glad you liked it and that it was helpful.

    • profile image

      artspeck 7 years ago

      Sorry to hear of your accident, but get well soon.