Chronic Rib Injury

Post questions and tips on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of chronic injuries.

Chronic Rib Injury

Postby Tmess » Jul 30, 2009 10:45

Over the last couple of years I have suffered 4 rib injuries. Each one occurred not from blunt trauma, but from pressure to the rib (e.g., from opponents shoulder) and movement (e.g., twisting body to perform a GI choke while opponent is in the turtle position). The ribs did not break - I heard a "pop" and they shifted out of position. I saw both an Orthopedic Surgeon affiliated and a chiropractor and neither were helpful and could offer any insights other than what I already knew (e.g., my ribs protrude in the damaged area). Has anyone experienced this type of injury? The injuries do not affect breathing and are accompanied with only some minor pain but take 3-4 months to heal. Just wondering if this is something that will continue to happen or if there is something I can do to prevent this? Thanks in Adance

Some info about me
1. I lost about 25lbs over the last 4 yrs and now am ~150 lbs/5'9'' and lowered body fat % from 20% to 10%
2. I stretch entire body (dynamic and static) daily
3. Strength train 2x a week
4. Injuries occurred after a good warm-up of aerobic and dynamic stretches and during the sparring part of class
5. My diet rich in fruits and vegetables - no dairy - limited grains - some fish and red meat

Posts: 19
Joined: Jan 24, 2007 10:52

Re: Chronic Rib Injury

Postby Tmess » Aug 03, 2009 13:04

Here is what I found on-line/offline for those that may experience this.

Separated Rib (aka costochondral separation)
Note: Slipping rib syndrome is similar but a different issue

-Ribs do not break skin
-Ribs show no sign of bruising
-Usually accompanied by a "pop" sound
-Initial pain level/duration varies based on seriousness/pain tolerance. Max unbearable pain usually 30-60 seconds
-At time of injury, may have noticeable space between ribs - usually slide somewhat back into place after a night of rest on the back

Healing time
1. Depending on Severity: Min: 6 weeks Max: 20 weeks
2. Often there is a reinjury if sufficient time is not taken for healing

1. Anywhere on rib cage (upper or lower) where cartilage and tendons connect the tissue

Treatment: (you should first go to a Doctor to rule out more serious injuries)
1. Ice for first week (20 min on/20 min off 3 to 4 hours a day)
2. Use heat therapy after 1st week
3. Use NSAIDs for pain only (Rib belt helps for very painful injuries as well).
4. For Anti-inflammatory affect use natural methods such as, remove inflammatory food from diet like corn and other grains, processed foods, dairy, farmed fish, and cooked animal meats. Eat anti-inflammatory food - raw fruits/vegetables/healing herbs. Some also suggest short liquid diet or food fast to focus digestive energy on healing
5. To also improve blood flow to damaged cartilage area use electronic stimulation or gentle massage - see chiropractor
6. Abstain from rigorous exercise/sparring/weight lifting until fully healed. Can perform lower some lower body exercises (albeit gentle) such as horse stance, isometric stretches, static stretches, etc
8. For more serious injury (e.g., slight rib protrusion or large bump), seek a chiropractor to realign ribs and rearticulate the cartilage
9. Sleep on back (or on opposite side of injury if bearable)
10. Some say to supplement with glucosamine chondroitin to help heal the cartilage

Protective Equipment
1. BJJ/Judo - none
2. Striking Arts- rib guards

-Be aware of body movement during healing - particularly in first week - when certain movements can cause acute pain

Helpful Links:
-Also lots of forums on-line where users talk about there experience with this injury
Posts: 19
Joined: Jan 24, 2007 10:52

Re: Chronic Rib Injury

Postby CSta » Aug 04, 2009 08:47

Thanks for the posts and the links. Very interesting.
Posts: 329
Joined: Sep 05, 2008 14:54
Location: Columbus, Ohio

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