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Health and Fitness

Rib Damages – Difference Between Bruised and Broken Ribs

Rib Damages are common, but the nature of the damage varies. It can be either bruised, smashed, or cracked. Although conditions vary, the symptoms and treatment are much similar. The rib injury might not be fatal, but the complications can be harmful to health. Hence, to avoid complications, you should be able to tell the difference between bruised and broken ribs. 

If your chest is damaged, there is a probability that you may suffer from a rib injury. Elderly people who have low bone density are likely to experience more rib damages. Also, the kids who have a soft ribcage are likely to bend rather than crack. Moreover, young people involved in sports activities may also have the risk of rib damages. 

The Difference Between Rib Damages

The chest structure can get damaged in many ways. A majority of these damages are caused due to blunted force shock suffered during a car accident or fall. The protective ribs get injured to guard the vital organs like the lung and heart. 

Bruised Ribcage 

As the bones of the ribcage and sternum can crack or fracture due to an accident. This can also cause the supportive chest muscles to get hurt, strained, and bruised. 

Bruised Rib is a condition where the ribs are damaged but not broken. Hence, the damaged tissue, cartilage, and muscles of the chest structure cause the pain. While bruise might not sound like a painful condition, the injuries to the close tissues can be quite torturing. 

Ribs are sensitive areas of the body; hence, they can develop stress fractures if overworked. This is common in sportsperson and athletes. The issue is sensitive because the ribcage functions while breathing. Hence, it is not easy to put damaged ribs at rest until they heal completely.  

Fractured Ribcage 

A fractured or cracked ribcage is an injury that involves bone injury rather than damage to the chest tissues, cartilage, and muscles. When ribs are fractures, the sternum might also get damaged. 

If you have experienced an accident, you may experience injuries to bones and the chest wall’s supporting tissues. As the symptoms of these injuries are the same, its treatment is also somewhat similar. 


Whether the rib is broken or bruised, you will have to bear a lot of pain. Moreover, ribs are one place where it is nearly impossible to wrap the injury. Injuries to the ribcage hurt more than anything else because whenever we breathe, our ribcage moves along.  

The ribcage is important while breathing and plays a significant role in the movement of the body. In case of injuries to the ribs and surrounding tissue mostly cause normal movement even though breathing can hurt. But it is simply not possible to avoid these activities.  

These body structures are involved in normal body movement, the majority of which is originated in the torso. Such injuries can hinder body movements and breathing. 

Broken rib sufferers experience intense pain, sensitivity, inflammation, or apparent bruises. This pain aggravates when the torso is twisted while moving the shoulder and arms, breathing, and coughing. 

If the rib injury is serious and many ribs have been fractured, the patient’s chest may look distorted upon examination. When the sufferer’s chest moves strangely upon breathing, it can sign a severe medical condition regarded as a flail chest. This happens when the ribs become disconnected from the chest. 

Serious Symptoms 

A damaged rib can lead to life-threatening health conditions such as a bruised lung in a few cases. This requires immediate medical attention. 

If you have encountered a serious road accident, there is a possibility you may experience bruised kidney. Some serious symptoms include intense pain that may aggravate with time, difficulty breathing, fever, and blood or mucus-filled cough. 

The Risk Factors

A person who experiences chest damage is at risk of serious health complications. People who have osteoporosis might not experience fractured ribs but may develop injury-induced health problems such as pneumonia. 

Constant coughing or repetitive motions can also cause rib injuries that are likely to occur in smokers. People who suffer from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are also prone to such ribcage injuries. A person involved in sports or athletics activities is also likely to undergo chest injuries.  


Rib damages are widespread, but the exact condition is indefinite. As rib damage is cured naturally and medical treatments are not much effective. Medical practitioners usually treat symptoms of the people suffering from this condition. 

Sitting Straight 

If you want to know how to put a rib back in place yourself, you must know that sitting straight can improve the condition. 

Many people will experience pain and soreness while sleeping. So, it would be best if you avoided lying completely straight. Hence, the best way to sleep with broken ribs is to sit in a relaxed chair for a few nights to ease the painful condition.  

Apart from dealing with discomfort, sitting straight can also assist in easy breathing. While coughing, patients may place a soft pillow against the chest that absorbs sudden shocks. 

Normal Breathing 

People with damaged ribs breathe shallowly and resist coughing. On the other hand, normal breathing and occasional coughing are essential to prevent any health complications. For this, you should consult an expert who can teach you special breathing exercises to ease the condition. 

Quit Smoking 

Quitting smoking is vital to healing from a ribcage injury. Smoking can aggravate or lower down the healing process. 

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