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Should I worry about bruised ribs?

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Practicing since : 2002
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I have injured my ribs whilst sparring in kickboxing. Took a hefty blow on left side. Was in extreme pain, had it checked out by my GP and he advised that i have badly bruised ribs. It is now 10 days since the injury and it is still pretty painful. In addition to the ribs it feels like I have gas trapped and I hear bowel like noises in the area where my ribs hurt, mainly when i lay down or apply pressure to the injured area. I wanted to know if I need to worry about anything more than just the pain of the bruised ribs.
Posted Fri, 4 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 27 minutes later
Hello and thanks for your query,

Bruised ribs can be among the most painful injuries. Compounding this is the fact that your ribs move with every breath you take and if you have soreness it will be a problem for a while until the healing is complete.

Bruised ribs can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks to complete a full healing process. I would not be alarmed by the fact that now - 10 days out you still have some pain. When we bruise ribs there is an inflammatory process which occurs and there is a moderate degree of swelling which occurs around the injured rib. We have alot of nerves in this area and this inflammation sets up an environment where the nerves are more stimulates - even with light pressure - thus creating the pain response.

I am sure it is hard to deal with but rest assured your body is working slowly but surely to heal itself and it will get there - likely in another 10 to 14 days. As long as your are breathing without a problem I am not concerned that you need to go for another evaluation. sometimes the swelling inside the chest wall can create a bit of friction within the soft tissue of the chest which may create the illusion of odd sounds which you may be hearing. Again - not to worry about that as well.

Again I thank you for submitting your query. If you have any additional concerns regarding your injury I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Should I worry about bruised ribs? 12 hours later

Thank you for the response. One thing I wanted to further query is in the area of the injury and swelling I mentioned I have these bowel like sounds. Accompanied with that I seem to be slightly bloated and have a trapped air feeling in the injured area, more so when laying down. I also find that after standing up from laying down for some time, I tend to burp alot and have some gas. Is this related to the injured ribs?
I also wanted to check if ice is a good way of helping the swelling?

Thank you very much for you help.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 5 hours later

Thanks for the followup.

It may be that your bowels have slowed down a little bit in the area of the injury. Sometimes this happens due to inflammation and the pain response. I advise you to drink plenty of fluids on a daily basis and make sure you are having adequate bowel movements. If not, I suggest you start a mild fibre supplement such as metamucil which you can drink once daily. The burping is related to this as well and should improve.

At this point I would use heat therapy - a heating pad or warm soaks in a bathtub which can help clear some of the swelling over time.

Thank you again for your query.


Dr. Galamaga.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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