Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it okay to exercise if I think I have a broken rib?"
Fell really hard on my ribs and pretty sure that I might have cracked one of them because it hurts really bad. If I can stand the pain though is it okay to run or exercise? Could I do any further damage?
Having a broken rib can be quite painful. The area around the fracture can be very tender and it can be very hard to take a deep breath. The first step to answering your question is to find out if you have a broken rib, and if you do, how severe is the fracture. Most of the time when we fall really hard we suffer from a soft tissue bruise which can hurt really bad, but does not mean that we broke a rib. When a rib does get broken, the fractures usually not that severe (although it is really painful), and we can get by with pain medication and continue with our normal routine. There are of course no casts for a broken rib. Really bad fractures sometimes need orthopedic help, but this is almost certainly not what you have. Really bad fractures make it impossible to take a deep breath and sometimes can even cause a collapsed lung. If you can run or exercise even with pain, this means that your injury with or without a fracture is not that severe. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can perform a chest x-ray to determine if you have a cracked rib and prescribe pain medications if needed.
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