Tell me about rib injuries

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  • Tell me about rib injuries
  • Premier Icon dave360
    Subscriber

    As long as you’re not coughing blood, there’s nothing to do except take it easy for a month or so. The symptoms are pretty much the same whether you’ve bruised, cracked or broken them.

    samuri
    Member

    I’ve broken a load, 4 separate occasions. It bloody well hurts.

    The first two times I went to the doctor because it was so painful I thought it just had to be serious.
    “What do you want me to do about it?” Was the general response. I stopped bothering going after that.

    3-4 weeks recovery normally. You’re not going to have a lot of fun. They *can* be dangerous and if you’re worried go to A&E or at least a drop in centre but my personal experience is MTFU. Coughing up blood, that sort of thing is usually something that demands further attention.

    Also, bruised ribs can hurt just as much as broken ones. When I’ve broken ribs, I’ve been able to feel them crack. One pair, I could feel the crack under the skin. Which was weird.

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    YOu are right in that there is no treatment for a simple broken rib. (asssuming no deformity)

    The main risk is you don’t breathe deeply enough so end up with a chest infection that makes you cough and hurts like billyo so breathe deeply

    Exercise within the limits of pain – take painkillers especially at night to help you sleep don’t take ’em so you can go out on your bike. If you really have cracked a rib expect a few weeks off the bike

    As ever – medical advice on teh internet is worth what you pay for it

    jhw
    Member

    Thanks

    I’m happy with MTFUing it. I plan to ride tomorrow.

    My only concern is this sharp stabbing increase in pain that occurred after dinner 30 hours after the crash (not my first meal after the episode, but my first large one). Risk of some kind of organ damage?

    There’s no cracking noise, I don’t think; and no signs of trauma on the surface (other than skin cuts and a little bruising)

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    In my (twice) experience if you’re thinking of riding tomorrow then you probably haven’t done much damage. My cracked (not even broken) ribs were painful enough that for the first week it was an effort to get out of bed in the morning (the combination of up and twist was literally breath taking painful).

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    jhw – Member

    Thanks

    I’m happy with MTFUing it. I plan to ride tomorrow.

    If you can ride tomorrow I really doubt you have broken it – and if you have imagine falling on it again?

    Risk of some kind of organ damage?

    You can get the broken end into a lung. I would suggest you would know as you would be coughing up blood,go a nice shade of blue and be dialling 999

    jhw
    Member

    That describes the situation – spent all day in town etc but now can hardly move. Strange

    Suspect the ride’s not going to happen

    Worried abt my spleen :S

    singlecrack
    Member

    I hope you don’t have hay fever cos if you sneaze you will sh*t yourself with the pain if you have done some serious damage

    but get your self to a docter as they can prescribe some good pain killers/ibuprofen …..they helped me sooo much I could get a good nights sleep

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    If you had a rib end into your spleen I suggest you would be dead by now 30 hrs on.

    busydog
    Member

    Broke a couple years ago and promptly came down with one of those colds with endless coughing. Very painful indeed.
    As TandemJeremy said, keep working on breathing deeply, even if it hurts

    jhw
    Member

    ok – thanks v much

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Aye, that’s the test, if you’ve really broken it the law of sod dictates you’ll get a cold.

    The pain level can be really variable… Frinstance about 2 weeks after I did mine the first time I raced 10 Under the Ben, but another time I was completely flattened for 2 weeks and barely riding til about 6.

    GP can’t do much but they can give you proper painkillers.

    Kunstler
    Member

    I’ve done ribs several times and in various degrees.

    It can be a strange injury. The first time time I did them it was agony for a week and then seemed to be getting better only for one morning two weeks later to wake up and the shallowest of breathing causing me great pain. It was worrying and I was taken to A&E but during the wait to see someone it subsided.

    The last time I damaged ribs I still able to ride each day but had a week of uncomfortable nights with little sleep.

    jhw
    Member

    OK – I’m going riding come hell or high water – been planning this trip for ages

    The crash occurred on an unnecessary “oh well might as well do one more run while I’m here” piece after a perfectly excellent morning Alpine ride, too. M**********r. Always know when to call it a day, is the lesson. The downpour had been threatening all day and hit on the last descent: I hit a flat metal waterbar flush with the trail on a fireroad at speed and just went flying. At the time I thought I’d punctured a lung and you should see the chunk it took out of my full face chinguard!

    jhw
    Member

    Does anyone have any specific experience of rib injuries that they can share with me?

    I’m convinced I cracked a rib yesterday in a bike crash. I read around the internet and drew the conclusion that there is pretty much nothing doctors can do about this, so I haven’t been to see one. I took a day off riding today but as I finished my ride yesterday after the crash without too much of a problem, I was planning on riding tomorrow.

    The pain seemed to be subsiding to a dull ache (although it’s been affecting my breathing all day) but immediately after dinner I got significant pains in the impact zone. It looks like riding tomorrow is now out of the question, although I plan to go if it doesn’t hurt so much in the morning. Based on your experience – should I ride? Call a doctor? Do nothing? I know the pro forma answer is “check yourself into A&E” but in practice if there’s nothing they can do anyway, why bother? What’s your experience of cracked ribs basically

    Premier Icon thv3
    Subscriber

    Similar to the above, I was told by the doctor that saw me that recovery times are the best way of telling how much damage you’ve done. He told me to expect up to 2 weeks pain from bruising, and up to 6 weeks pain from broken ribs.

    Not much they can do, and also as above, pray you don’t need to sneeze or catch a cold. Oh, and don’t laugh, also not helpful 😉

    Junkyard
    Member

    if they are broken or bruised you will be struggling to move [twist , stand up and turn and breath deeply] and riding will not be possible and very foolish if you choose to MTFU

    Premier Icon mattstreet
    Subscriber

    Did this once by landing the side of my chest on a log after mincing a drop off. Ouch. Keep taking the painkillers – ibuprofen AND paracetamol if needed – especially if it helps you get to sleep.

    And as already said – don’t, under any circumstances, sneeze! I literally fell to the ground in pain. Hope you have a fast recovery!

    jimc101
    Member

    Did similar to mattstreet last Thursday evening, and sneezing really hurt for the first few days, still hurts when lying down, and breathing deeply.

    You may have just torn some fibres in one of your intercostal muscles. I have broken 6 ribs in the last two years. Believe me, if you had even cracked a rib you would not be thinking about riding tomorrow.

    coatesy
    Member

    I can wholeheartedly recommend the deep breathing, last time I did my ribs I was in a lot of pain, and avoided it. I suffered the consequences for about 3 years after. Just stretching a bit too far occasionally sent massive pains through the area i’d bruised, not regularly enough to be prepared for, but enough for me to remember them clearly 6 years down the line.

    yunki
    Member

    Believe me, if you had even cracked a rib you would not be thinking about riding tomorrow.

    +1

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Surrounded By Zulus – Member

    Believe me, if you had even cracked a rib you would not be thinking about riding tomorrow.

    -1. I rode for 2 days after breaking my ribs the first time, it was unpleasant but the pain didn’t really kick in til a few days after (apparently caused by swelling around the break keeping things together, followed by the swelling dying down and the bones starting to move more). That’s not self-diagnosis in case you were wondering.

    Not to say that was a good idea.

    bigdugsbaws
    Member

    Broke mine recently, took it easy for a week then rolled over in bed, felt a big crunch and they went again. Still in pain 10 days later and struggling to do much.

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Ask your GP for some pain killing supositories. Seriously. They work a treat, especially an hour before bed time.

    sweepy
    Member

    you might force yourself to ride tomorrow, but believe me you wont enjoy it, and it will probably slow your recovery and keep you off the bike for longer. Dont be an arse.

    andyl
    Member

    Not read the replies but I broke a rib earlier in the year (slammed into my poploc remote).

    Unless you have serious symptons – bone visibly snapped, can’t breathe, blood etc then not a lot they can do.

    You will resort to taking short breaths due to the discomfort which can lead to problems lung problems (which can put you in hospital) so every now and then force yourself to do a couple of good deep breaths.

    If you need to cough then hold the rib firmly and sneezing too if you really can’t avoid it (I’ve re-cracked a healing rib with a violent sneeze).

    Take it easy for a couple of weeks and riding will be a silly idea. Flat stuff in a week/10 days maybe but anything rougher needs longer. If you don’t rest it now you will only prolong the discomfort and could cause some lasting damage.

    Actually riding would be a stupid, not silly, idea.

    Oh and don’t sit and slouch and sleep on your back.

    Premier Icon Johnny Panic
    Subscriber

    I did some of mine at the same time as my collar bone. Ribs hurt. And it’s possible that an impact big enough to break or bruise a rib may partially collapse the lung.

    The day after my x-rays in casualty I got a call from the hossy asking me to ‘urgently’ return to casualty to check something they had seen on the films. They wouldn’t say what it was but guaranteed I would be seen as soon as I arrived. Scared the crap out of me. Turns out you could tell one of my lungs had partially collapsed (the top inch-ish) and was spotted on a review. It had recovered on it’s own by the time they x-rayed it again.

    If you think you might have broken ribs, just think what landing on them again is going to do to your insides. Think pierce.

    neninja
    Member

    I’ve done mine a few times including about 6 weeks ago.

    Take it easy until they settle down. I made the mistake of doing a long ride in the Dales only 4 days after the original injury and I reckon it put me back 2 weeks. They had got a lot better before that but got exponentially worse afterwards.

    They may start clicking after a few days (I was told because the swelling loosens the joins between the ribs).

    My ribs still hurt some mornings if I’ve been lying on them when I wake up even after about 6-7 weeks.

    As stated above try to take deep breathes even if it hurts. A mate who broke his ribs recently got a lung infection due to shallow breathing. Broken ribs plus coughing really hurts.

    Premier Icon Russell96
    Subscriber

    Big beanbag as your pillow it stops you rolling over in your sleep and screaming yourself awake.

    yunki
    Member

    I’ve re-cracked a healing rib with a violent sneeze).

    I’ve done this on two seperate instances of cracked ribs.. a joyful experience..

    TandemJeremy
    Member

    sweepy – Member

    you might force yourself to ride tomorrow, but believe me you wont enjoy it, and it will probably slow your recovery and keep you off the bike for longer. Dont be an arse.

    Thats assuming he has broken them. I have my doubts

    forgotmename
    Member

    Hello Jack, take some pain killers, then see how you feel, then go for a ride, then email me the pictures of me falling off please.
    Ta. Gary

    jhw
    Member

    Thanks 🙂 did go for a ride – a big, 2 day one. Just sorting pictures now before train. Ribs hurt like a bitch at times but I don’t think any are broken, just bruised

    forgotmename
    Member

    great ta, where was your 2 day ride?

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I’ve cracked ribs twice (the same ones as well – there’s now a lump of calcified bone where they’ve healed).
    First time I just thought I’d badly winded myself and finished the remaining 8hrs of the 10hr enduro MTB race I was doing. Then wondered why it was so unbelievably painful next day…

    A&E checked me over and basically told me it was definitely cracked and then (with a slightly smug look) that there was nothing they could do, here’s some painkillers.

    Just take it easy, don’t try lifting anything heavy or watching any funny comedy shows (cos laughing hurts too!) and don’t try riding. You CAN actually ride without too much pain but if you fall off again on that same spot you’ll really know about it.

    mtb_matt
    Member

    I’d normally say MTFU but having bruised my ribs on holiday only to have them suddenly worsen about 10 days later its probably worth dropping by A&E to rule anything else out.

    For what its worth mine turned into a chest infection that at one point meant I was finding normal breathing a problem.

    Whatever happens you’re probably looking at 4-6 weeks till you’re back to normal. Bruised or broken they can be very sore. You have my sympathy.

    GW
    Member

    If you can ride tomorrow I really doubt you have broken it – and if you have imagine falling on it again?

    might it depend which ribs you’ve broken? Dunno, but I’ve broken my ribs 3 times (always the lowest ones) and have always still ridden after.
    had bruised ribs too and IIRC that was possibly more uncomfortable.

    Olly
    Member

    as above, as long as your not dead or bleeding, there isnt a whole lot they can do for you ANYWAY so its just a case of MTFU.

    hurts like hell, and some sod is bound to make you laugh in about 3 weeks just as it is going away and it will come back with avengence.

    OCB
    Member

    They are weirdly annoying things to damage, I’ve done the bottom few on each side (happily at different times), and both times were very painful. One side used to click for the first few days if I ‘over’ expanded my chest, then there’d be a very sharp pain as the ends came back together, and I’d have to have a little sit down somewhere quiet for a few minutes.

    Driving was very uncomfortable, what with turning and going over bumps et cetera, laying down was uncomfortable, and I was really scared in crowds, the slightest touch on them would give me a queasy feeling.

    My old dad did his too back along, and I recall him saying much the same about the experience.

    Pain after eating is probably (!) because you’re guts are full, and pushing outwards on the injury. I’d guess you’d (probably) know by now if there was any internal damage to stuff that matters, so it’ll just be a case of grin and bear it.

    Feel free to regard this as: worth trying / witch-craft / snake-oil quackery, as you see fit, but you might find that Arnica helps to take the brusing down.

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