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Rib Fracture

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by Keel JC

(Broken Rib; Fracture, Rib)

 

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of breaking a rib include:
 

Treatment

Treatment includes:

Rest

Rest and do not do physical activity until the pain has gone away.

Protection

Your doctor may suggest wearing a chest binder around your ribs to protect them. The binder will also help you breathe properly. It is important to take some good breaths so that the lungs remain clear. Pneumonia can develop after rib fractures if you are not breathing deeply enough. If you play contact sports, you may need to wear a rib cage protector for 6-8 weeks when you return to playing.

Medication

Your doctor may recommend that you take over-the-counter medication to help reduce inflammation and pain, such as ibuprofen.

Physical Therapy

As your ribs heal, a physical therapist can teach you breathing exercises. The therapist can also help you maintain range of motion in arm and shoulder joints.

Intercostal Nerve Blocks

Special injections with local anesthetic can temporarily relieve pain.

Epidural Anesthesia

Sometimes, a temporary epidural catheter is used to place anesthetic near the spinal cord and nerves. This can help severe cases where the injury requires hospitalization.

Hospitalization

Hospitalization is usually only needed if there are complications such as damage to organs in the chest.
 

RESOURCES

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://www.aaos.org

Trauma.org
http://www.trauma.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
http://www.canorth.org

 

References


Boden BP, Osbahr DC, et al. Low-risk stress fractures. Am J Sports Med. 2001;29:100-111.


Fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00097 . Updated October 2012. Accessed August 26, 2013.


Gregoretti C, et al. Regional anesthesia in trauma patients. Anesthesiol Clin. 2007;25(1):99-116.


O'Kane J. Delayed complication of a rib fracture. Phys Sportsmed. 1998;26:69.


1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Barrett-Connor E, Nielson CM, Orwoll E, Bauer DC, Cauley JA; Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study Group. Epidemiology of rib fractures in older men: Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2010;340:c1069.

 

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