Treatment for broken or bruised ribs

On Behalf of | May 16, 2023 | Personal injury, Serious injuries |

If you have been in an accident in Connecticut and hurt your torso, it’s important to seek medical attention to see if your ribs are bruised, broken or fractured. There is a difference in the treatment plan that your doctor may prescribe.

Bruised ribs

Bruised ribs can hurt, but the bones are not damaged. Instead, the damage is done to the soft tissue, cartilage and chest wall muscles. The doctor will likely recommend putting ice on the area and treating it with an over-the-counter painkiller.

Broken or fractured ribs

Broken and fractured ribs are the same thing, and you have experienced damage to the rib bones. Doctors previously recommended compression wraps for broken ribs, but that is no longer true. Instead, doctors let them heal on their own usually. Wrapping them up can increase your chance of developing pneumonia because your rib bones need to move every time you breathe. In most cases, the ribs will heal independently in about six weeks provided that you do not reinjure them.

Diagnosing bruised or broken ribs

The doctor may order X-rays or a CT scan to diagnose broken or bruised ribs. This is especially true if you smoke, are over 65, are prone to falls, have low bone density or have another health condition that bruised or broken ribs may exacerbate. Doctors consider rib injuries in children to be serious injuries because their bones are designed to be flexible. Therefore, children with rib injuries often have damage to their internal organs.

Sitting up straight may be more comfortable if you have bruised or broken your ribs. Additionally, try to take shallow breaths. If you need to cough, hold a pillow against your torso.