Broken or Bruised Ribs - Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor should I consult for broken ribs?

An Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialist should be consulted for broken ribs.

2. How long does it take to heal a broken rib?

A rib injury usually heals in a few weeks. In case of fracture, healing ranges from 3-6 weeks while if the rib has torn from the cartilage as in costochondral separation, it may take anywhere up to 12 weeks or more for healing. Bruised ribs heal much faster. Restricting activity and managing pain with pain-killers will help in quicker recovery.

3. How do you know if you have a broken rib?

A bruised or broken rib might feel extremely painful especially when the patient tries to breath in. This can result in rapid, shallow breaths. Other signs include swelling, bruising of the area, pain on movement and tenderness (pain on touch).

4. Do Broken ribs ever fully heal?

The complicated fractures that cause multiple breaks causing the broken segments to become unstable or severely displaced will likely take longer to heal and some may never heal normally.

5. What is a displaced fracture of the rib?

These are complex fractures of the rib which cause the edges of the bone to become misaligned or displaced. Displaced fractures appear to lack contour along the edge of the rib.

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