Have you ever played a sport and fractured your ribs? Have you ever slipped and fell in the bathtub? Have you discussed rib fractures with your doctor?


● Rib fractures tend to occur from traumatic falls.
● Contact sports (football, hockey, baseball, etc.) create situations where blunt force causes fractures.


● Intense severe pain
● Difficulty taking deep breaths
● Long lasting pain, sometimes for several weeks
● Tenderness in one or more ribs


● Chest X-rays to assess damage to the lungs and to check for pulmonary contusions.
● Rib series X-rays to assess fractured ribs. Rib series X-rays are preferred over standard X-rays because standard X-rays do not always show fractures.


Surgery is not needed for most fractures in the ribs.
● Pain can be managed with NSAIDS and lidocaine transdermal.
● Compressing the area with a pillow will be effective for minimizing the pain while laughing, coughing, sneezing, and pushing off the bed.

Note: Rib fractures can cause other serious injuries that do require surgery such as hemothorax, pneumothorax, hemopneumothorax, and pulmonary laceration(s).

Figure 1: Vector illustration of broken ribs chest thorax.


Artemida-psy. (2020). Vector illustration of broken ribs chest thorax. [Illustration]. https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/vector-illustration-broken-ribs-chest-thorax-620986040

Melendez, S. (2017). Rib Fracture. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/825981-overview

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