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Broken Rib

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Broken Rib

Broken Rib

A broken or fractured rib is a common injury that occurs when one of the bones in your rib cage breaks or cracks. The most common cause of broken rib is trauma to the chest, such as from a fall, motor vehicle accident or impact during contact sports. Many broken ribs are merely cracked. While still painful, cracked ribs aren’t as potentially dangerous as ribs that have been broken. In these situations, a jagged piece of bone could damage major blood vessels or internal organs, such as the lungs. In most cases, broken ribs heal on their own in one or two months. Adequate pain control is important so that a person can continue to inhale and exhale deeply and avoid lung complications, such as pneumonia.


Symptoms of a broken rib may include pain when one takes a deep breath, this pain normally gets worse when the victim presses on the injured area, or when he or she bends or twists his or her body. Therefore, It is advisable to see a doctor if one has a very gentle spot in the rib area that occurs after shock, is present with deep breaths or if it prevents one's breathing.

Nonetheless, should one experience pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, pain that extends beyond the chest to one's shoulder or arm, and increasing episodes of chest pain, get medical attention immediately. These symptoms may indicate the possibility of a heart attack.


Causes of direct impact include motor vehicle accidents, child abuse, contact sports like soccer and rugby; and falls. In addition, broken ribs emanating from repetitive trauma include sports such as golf or rowing and severe and prolonged coughing spells.

Risk factors

The following factors can increase the risk of breaking a rib:

  • Having osteoporosis which is a disease in which one's bones lose their density, making him more vulnerable to a bone fracture
  • Participating in contact sports like hockey or football also increases the risk of pain to a person's chest
  • Trauma increases the risk of rib fractures
  • A cancerous lesion in victims can also weaken the bone to make it more prone to breaks.


Distinct from a fractured rib, a totally broken rib can injure blood vessels and internal organs which increase with the number of broken ribs. Complications thus, vary depending on which ribs have been broken in the body. Possible complications include torn or punctured aorta, punctured lung and lacerated spleen, liver or kidneys “ all being life threatening conditions.


In order to help prevent a broken rib in individuals, immediate measures should be adhered to when participating in sports always. These include, but are not limited to, protection of oneself from athletic injuries and wearing protective equipment when playing contact sports. In addition to this, one ought to ensure he or she takes appropriate steps to decrease the risk of household falls and decreasing the chances of getting osteoporosis like getting enough calcium in the diet.

A broken rib thus, arises from a trauma to the chest causing soreness which is felt more when the victim presses the injured part or during bending or twisting. An individual who has rib fracture has a high chance of injuring blood vessels such as capillaries and veins; and other body's internal organs. People who are involved in contact sports like rugby and even soccer, unfortunate motor vehicle accidents and people who experience child abuse most often cause broken rib. Caution is key to avoidance of this condition during contact sports.