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How long for a cracked / bruised rib to heal?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by rustybug, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Nearly 3 weeks ago I was knocked over very hard by a heavy dog running fast. My feet left the ground and I came down on the top left quarter of my back. I felt like I'd possibly cracked or bruised a rib - it hurt like crazy to breathe deeply, and sneezing made me actually almost cry. I had no strength on my left arm and couldn't sleep easily because if I lay on my left (sore) side it hurt and if I lay on my right side it felt like my ribcage was collapsing in on itself and was even more sore. Could only be painfree on my back.

    Now It is still agony to sneeze, though breathing (except for very very deeply) is OK. My left arm is still weak and if I use it a lot in the day I am woken up several times in the night by pain. If I need to walk for a long time I am most comfortable if I support it using my fleece, my dog's lead, or by putting my hand in my pocket. Running (I used to do 5km a few times a week) is still out of the question.

    I'm 46, and pretty fit and healthy. How much longer should this take? BTW I never went to the doctor because NHS Direct said there is no treatment except painkillers and wait....
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    You should have got yourself checked over at the time either by your GP or at A&E and if you are still in pain you should go to your GP for advice. NHS Direct cannot possibly make a proper diagnosis over the phone.
  3. Try an osteopath or physio. They have better anatomical knowledge than a GP and will send you to hospital if there is cause for concern.
    I hate to say this as the cause is probably different and I have some additional symptoms, but I have a similar problem with pain and lack of strength - it's been going on for over a year and the NHS hasn't found a cause for it yet. I think it is ribs and other joints that are clicking slightly out of place and affecting nerves - I have some hypermobile joints. I was very fit until it started - you may have misplaced a rib at the spine end - an osteo or physio may be able to help. I'm pinning my hopes on physio now as the osteopaths seemed to get it sorted but it was out again by the time I walked home.
  4. I thought I'd wait until the bone / bruising has had a chance to heal first. But don't know how long that is. It never really seemed very serious, just a nuisance, but it's dragging on a bit now... I fell off horses all the time as a kid but if course it's different when you're young, and I never broke anything.
  5. Do you have visible bruising?
    3 weeks will be enough to heal a crack - it's also pretty difficult to crack top ribs because of the shape of them.
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Go to your GP for goodness' sake!
  7. No, there wasn't any visible bruising, which convinced me that I hadn't done anything serious! As far as going to the GP goes, years of being married to the most accident-prone man in the world have taught me that for some things, all you'll get for your pains is a sending to A&E where you'll sit around for hours smelling horrid smells, and then be told there's nothing to be done, you just have to take the full daily dose of nurofen and paracetamol until it goes away. If there's an X-ray to be done, the hours could become hours and hours. He's broken both his wrists in one go, a bone in his ankle, and his coxxyx, and my ex also can add a finger to that list, all with the same treatment!
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Next time you post for advice we'll all know that all you really want is a daily dose of ibuprofen and paracetamol then.
  9. I think you should get it checked by an osteopath in case you displaced a rib. I've always found them more use for musculo-skeletal stuff. They will send you to a doctor if it's something that a click won't cure.
  10. Actually I wasn't posting for advice so much as asking if anyone with experience of a damaged rib could tell me how long I should expect it to take to heal.

    I have received some helpful advice, though, thanks EI, I will look up an osteo person and let you know how I get on!
  11. ceehorse

    ceehorse New commenter

    I broke two ribs in January by falling downstairs. Quack said 3-4 weeks to heal - he lied! It took 4 weeks to stop hurting when I sneezed or coughed. I could breathe deeply without pain after 6 weeks but the ribs took 3 months to heal completely ie move at Pilates without hurting and walk up stairs easily! Hope you feel better soon. Paracetomol helped.
  12. anotherauntsally

    anotherauntsally Lead commenter

    I was beginning to get more confident about doing things - then I tried to run for the first time and found I couldn't because it was too sore. So, I have a feeling it may be more like 3 months for me as well but my GP did say it might be.
    I hope you're well and truly on the mend now, Rusty but try not to be too impatient.
    I had a sore throat last week which has turned into a nice little chest infection (and I never get these, so just my luck). I'm hoping the coughing doesn't set me back - try to steer clear of coughs and colds (and if you know how to do that, pass it on).

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