ZocdocAnswersCan anything be done about cracked ribs?

Question

Can anything be done about cracked ribs?

My dad says nothing will help my ribs. I fell hard on the stairs outside my apartment in the rain. I think I broke a couple of ribs, but he says I just have to wait it out. The pain is really bad and is going on a week now. Anything I can do?

Answer

Here are a few questions that you may consider to help answer your questions. Have you had any difficulty with breathing, any shortness of breath or pain with inspiration or expiration? Do the ribs feel painful or tender to the touch? The answers to these questions along with your medical history and presenting symptoms will help your primary care doctor decide upon the appropriate work up and potential treatment options available. This may include imaging studies or a referral to a specialist depending on what is found. There are many serious complications that may be associated with rib fractures, usually when multiple ribs have fractured, such as flail chest and pneumothorax. Flail chest occurs because multiple ribs are fractured and this makes it difficult for breathing to properly occur. Pneumothorax occurs when the lungs develop lacerations which cause them to deflate in the chest and can become life threatening. Because you have not had breathing symptoms after the fall, the likelihood that these severe complications have occurred is low but it is still important that you are evaluated by your medical professional because he or she will best be able to evaluate you.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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