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Thread: Bruised ribs

  1. #1
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    Bruised ribs

    Its almost embarrassing to say this is the worst pain ever in the company of those far worse off than me in this forum. And I've had worse injuries myself from all my years riding and crashing, but this is beyond anything I've known. Pain meds, being motionless and shallow breathing are the only thing allowing me to even type right now.

    Went flying yesterday when my crank hit a root while pedaling downhill on my Epic. It stopped my forward motion instantly and launched me OTB and into hard ground with embedded rock. I use to instictively tuck and roll but not this time. I splayed out in true superman form once airborn and hit the ground with my left elbow first, then my ribcage under my left side.

    Trip to the ER revealed no breaks, thank goodness but the pain is unbelievable. I'm sure others here have experienced the same so shoot me some sympathy while my drug addled brain can still register and appreciate it.
    Pisgah Forest NC

  2. #2
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    Whatever you do, don't watch any Chappelle's' Show reruns until you heal.
    And don't even think about sneezing.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  3. #3
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    Did that about 6 weeks ago.

    Couple days of suck. Couple weeks of hard to breathe deep and hard to roll over in bed or reach.

    Then mostly better except sore to the touch or very specific motions.

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    Know how you feel, i had a big off on saturday, which has resulted in a slight fracture to the ribs and bruising which isnt even showing up on the outside, i thought it would be black an blue by now.
    Finding it seriously hard to breathe an get deep breaths in and already i want to get back on the bike.. hurry up an heel

  5. #5
    eb5
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    Went through the same injury about a month ago... it sucks! Sneezing, laughing, moving side to side, all of it was painful.

  6. #6
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    Ouch. I remember how hard it was to sneeze and how much it hurt to laugh. Squeezing or hugging a pillow firmly to your rib cage definitely helps.
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  7. #7
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    Dam. Had a hard sneeze today and my rib is back to hurting.

  8. #8
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    Third day since crash, hurting like hell but slight improvements. Last night was the first I slept thru, albeit with pain meds but a gain non the less. I even walked the dog today. I hope to hike a little tomorrow, maybe return to the scene of the crime and have a look at the root that did this. Hopefully two more days of rest and increasing outtings, I'll be good for work on Monday.
    Pisgah Forest NC

  9. #9
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    Hate say it but I bruised mine in April and didn't feel 100% until beginning of August. Didn't stop me riding though but tough climbing when you can only inhale halfway....

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  10. #10
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    I'm 3 weeks post otb with fractured rib and mild costochondral separation. Had my first real yawn last night and god damn it felt so good.

    One thing that did help was straping the site of the injury. Seemed to stop the rib popping out all the time especially when sleeping. Just don't strap around your chest as it stops you breathing properly and can increase risk of pneumonia. Also what helps with sleeping is getting some pillows behind and in front as they stop you rolling around.

    Sleeping is still painfull but at least I can function during the day. On the plus side of this injury is I have learnt to isolate my core which helps when sitting up etc. and it has given my wife a source of entertainment watching me trying to do simple tasks

    Your ribs will tell you when you have done too much too soon, as mine did the other night when I carried my 4 year old to bed without thinking. Ribs didn't like that.
    Last edited by brad72; 08-26-2012 at 01:25 AM.

  11. #11
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    Tomorrow marks two weeks since my crash. I'm off pain-meds and my mobilization is up to about 75% and I've been back on the bike a few times doing light-duty single-trac. Sleeping comfortably is still impossible and judging by a still sharp pain between the underside of my left shoulder blade and ribcage, Im guessing the xray failed to reveil a broken or cracked rib? Most of the pain has deminshed to dull but this one spot is still really, really sharp and is what keeps me up nights.
    Pisgah Forest NC

  12. #12
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    Cracked, bruised, or broken ribs - most of the time the treatment is the same... There's really nothing to be done but wait it out... Really broken ribs - they go in and fix so it doesn't poke holes in organs.

    You probably flexed a few of them, and tore the muscles in between them - Hurts like hell, heals really slowly...

  13. #13
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    I had almost the exact same crash in February. Landed on my left side with my arm tucked under. I was in pain for a week, then the pain become 5-6x worse on the 8th day, I couldn't even lift my arm above my head. It's crazy how much such a "simple" injury can effect your life!! Took another 3 weeks before I could get back to riding (sub-freezing weather didn't help).

    Glad to hear you are healing up though!

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    I'm 5 weeks out and pretty much pain free during the day but still get twinges if I twist or lean certain ways. At night I still get pain but I can finally lie on the bad side although it lets me know if I lie wrongly. Prick of an injury.

  15. #15
    jbf
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    Yes- ribs suck. I bruised mine on July 3rd and it took 2 months before the discomfort allowed real mobility. Unfortunately a pretty spectacular road bike crash resulted in 2 broken ribs 3 weeks ago and has sidelined me again. I agree that it is hard to believe how painful ribs can be until you experiance it first hand. You do not appreciate the ability to move until you can't. And pray that you do not sneeze ...

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    Agree with above. Ribs are an arsehole. Done mine a while ago thought I was ready to ride that week until getting dressed for work an twisted slightly putting my sock on of all things an it sidelined me for another 2 weeks till Saturday an I'm pretty good to go. But still does let you know when lying on your side. I'm just scared an twisting to much an hearing a pop again.

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    Bruised mine 2 weeks ago and they still hurt like hell! Doesn't help that it's allergie season for me either. I know a sneeze is coming and all Incan think about for the seconds leading up to it is just how much this is going to hurt. Sleeping has gotten better, but getting up out of the bed still really sucks!

  18. #18
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    Just under two months now I actually sneezed by accident an it never hurt. Sleeping on the side is about 85% still to be honest. But riding properly but cautiously as I think If I crash at the minute I'll be sidelined again. Coughing tho I tend to have to hold my chest then cough again haha

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    I guess I got lucky, I did the same manuever the OP did the other night at about a 10mph pace. Left crank caught the root and tossed me over, bad was I was in clipped in shoes so it took the entire bike with me.

    Buddy behind me said I did an entire sommersault and landed on my side with the bike landing on top of me. Luckily no major injuries this time.

    Hope you get better and back to 100% soon OP.

  20. #20
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    Yep I'm much better, almost 100%. It's been seven weeks and I'm back to riding full-on and almost everything else. I still wake in the night if I lay on the bruised side just wrong or during pre-workout stretching I feel it. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, no problem. Pretty amazing recovery time for something as painful as the first week post-crash was. Anyone that experiences the same and reads this post, take comfort in the fact that the recovery is relatively short.

    Thanks for all the responses and well-wishes.
    Pisgah Forest NC

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    Just read this…fractured my #12 rib (lowest one) nine days ago when I slid out on a wet wooden bridge.
    I agree with the pain level and have never felt anything worse.

  22. #22
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    If you're at all allergy prone, I'd suggest you go pro-active on the allergy meds. You DO NOT want to have a sneezing fest. Coughing is out too.

  23. #23
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    My sympathies Surfdog. This will be tough but recovery will be 100% and you'll be surprised how quickly the worst of the pain subsides considering it's intensity now.
    Pisgah Forest NC

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    Thanks FatTireGoose, I appreciate the words of encouragement !
    I thought a herniated disc (about 10 years ago) was going to be the most painful, but the fractured rib has it beat, lol

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    sleeps with lots of pillows to give support. Makes it far more comfortable.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad72 View Post
    sleeps with lots of pillows to give support. Makes it far more comfortable.
    Its kind of counter intuitive, but I found that sleeping on the bad side was more comfortable. It seemed like the pressure against the mattress locked down the bad rib and all the flexing that happens during breathing was happening on the unbroken side. It hurt a little to get into the position, but once settled it was pretty comfortable.

  27. #27
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    Zyflamend....get it at the heath or herb store....works wonders....

  28. #28
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    Sorry for the late post. A topical (OTC) analgesic like Voltaren provided some relief after I broke 2 ribs while DH . But it takes time. Stretching the intercostal muscles is good practice.
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    Thank you cyclelicious.
    I had missed my dr's voice mail and it turns out I have 3 fractures. Two in the #12 rib and one in #11. Pain is quite tolerable now, just sleeping is a pita. I have to sleep sitting upright against the side of sofa. Anything close to laying down, just puts pressure on the area and becomes too uncomfortable.

  30. #30
    RTM
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    Glad I found this thread. I was a little embarrassed when the Dr. said 'bruised' ribs. I may not be Chuck Norris but I'm no whimp. A BRUISE!? are you kidding me!? Doesn't help that everyone I tell reacts as if I stubbed my toe.

    I'm a week into my recovery. I guess I've got a few more before I can get on the bike. Did any of you guys find you could ease back into it with a lower impact activity? I'm going to need to do something in about a week or so. I can't bear the idea of sitting around wasting away. It seems running is completely out of the question. Working out in the gym probably also a bad idea. Perhaps a road ride or stationary bike (UGH)...?

  31. #31
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    "Bruised" is just a general term for soft tissue damage. I've had severely "bruised" three different times. Apparently the connective tissue around the ribs can get torn and also take a while to heal.

    The pain was never excruciating but it certainly didn't heal fast. Sleeping was difficult for a couple months. The problem is that there's really no way to immobilize the area so it takes longer to heal than many other injuries. If looking for a silver lining, it's good to know that these injuries tend to heal completely with no long term effect.

  32. #32
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    I had a nice OTB 2 days ago and supermanned onto the trail. Was a pretty fast one too, bruised my left hand side ribs, but not terribly. Just enough that i cannot lean on them, and I'm bruised up and slow right now. I'm just glad they didnt break/fracture, because that was my first thought when i hit the ground (OUCH).

    Anyways, good luck healing everyone. Aren't bicycles fun?! :P

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    3 weeks into my recovery (3 fractured ribs in back) and starting to feel a lot better. The last few days switched off the oxycodone and now just take motrin. Started on stationary bike and that feels fine for 30 min, just can't get full breaths yet, lung feels like it cramps up. Last night was the first time I could sleep on both sides, so thankful for that. Dr said it could be another 4 weeks of healing, but I'm gonna try some "safe" trails this week. From what I read, you are OK doing "stuff" as long as it doesn't hurt.

  34. #34
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    Be careful while healing.
    It is easy to re-injure ribs.
    I was pulling a grip off my bike and my ribs popped loose- hurt again for another 2 months.

  35. #35
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    Today is day 7 after my own OTB superman style flight right into a tree. Broke three on the left backside plus a heck of a whack on my left hip. My entire lower back is numb a week later.

    Worst pain I've ever experienced for sure.

    I live in fear of sneezing. Have sneezed twice and involuntarily coughed three times in the past week. Excruciating. The first time it happened I was totally unprepared and I think I blacked out for a second it hurt so bad. LOL!

    Needless to say I haven't had a full night's sleep since. Can't hardly get into/out of bed and have been just cat napping in my recliner on a heat pad. No drugs other than Ibuprofin doesn't help. I did pop a few Vicodin on days 2 and 3 just to get through the worst of it, but that was it.

    I'm antsy to get back on the bike asap but know better. It's going to be a minute before this thing heals. Besides, I can't get enough breath to do the ride justice anyway.

    So everybody pray I don't sneeze anymore. Feeling the bones click in my back wasn't cool at all. LOL!

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