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  1. #1
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    Reputation: flying marmot's Avatar
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    Upset Dr. missed diagnosed a broken rib

    I head out for a mtb ride tues. eve. I space out on the last section of this downhill (I was actually thinking about how plush my fork felt) next thing I know my front tire hits something and I get ejected from my bike flying through the air to land on my right side and forearm. I get up do a little assessment feel okay get back on the bike with my bloody arm and make my way back home.

    My right side and rib feels sore the next day but not painful I decided to go on a 40 mile road bike ride, no problem.

    Next day I considered mtb that day but didn't feel like jostling my side around. I also think I should get my rib checked out. Manage to get into see a "new" Dr. at Boulder Medical Center. All I really wanted was an x-ray and urgent care is $100 so I opt to see an internal med. Dr. for $25. Wait and wait, they forget about me, and finally the assistant comes out and said both the Dr. and radiologist did not find a fracture.

    So I head home and decide to go for another road ride. Avoid the busy hwy and head up a hill. Breathing a bit harder almost at the top I feel a pop and then the pain hit hard. I could barely breathe, standing up in the saddle was not even possible, which sucks becuase I was psyched to get back on the single speed and maybe race.

    I finally make it home now in much more pain still can't figure out what the hell happened or how much time I'll need to heal. Huge bummer! Anyone experience this scenario????

  2. #2
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    The docs at the urgent care had to look at my X-rays TWICE to diagnose two cracked ribs. It was very painful for the first three weeks; particularly, getting up, lying down, sneezing, coughing, and laughing.
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  3. #3
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    so did you go back to urgent care twice? the radiologist and the dr. looked at mine found no fracture. 3 weeks...ouch, did it hurt to raise your arm above your shoulder? When did you get back on the bike road or mtb?

  4. #4
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    I had a severe chest injury in a crash last year that sidelined me for a few months. The area of impact was 25.4mm in diameter. No broken ribs. Pain lasted months, severe pain for weeks.

  5. #5
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    how did you fall? did you have any abrasions where you impacted?

  6. #6
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    And that is why you are not supposed to go the the doctors office for broken ribs. Its a very common injury, mostly nothing can be done for it and quite often you keep riding anyways. I would bet 3 out of 4 riders never see a doctor for a broken rib or two. There are probably a few who dont even go in for broken arms. The guys without insurance anyways. Last year I took a really hard fall on pavement and was pretty sure I broke a bone in my hand. It took a couple of months too get better but what the heck was a Doctor going to do? He probably would have put some useless cast on and charged me/insurance lots of money.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by flying marmot
    so did you go back to urgent care twice? the radiologist and the dr. looked at mine found no fracture. 3 weeks...ouch, did it hurt to raise your arm above your shoulder? When did you get back on the bike road or mtb?
    No, the urgent care called later that night and said I had hairline fractures in two ribs.

    My ribs have been better for a few weeks now, but it's my broken wrist that's keeping me from getting back on the bike. I've been off the bike since July 8th--I was told November before I could get back on the bike (wrist, 8 fractures, not because of the ribs).

    I didn't have problems trying to raise my arm. Could it be a rotator cuff injury?
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  8. #8
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    Rib fractures do not always show up on xrays acutely. If they didnt see any fractures, then they didnt see any fractures. I broke the rib right below my clavicle. It did not show up on xrays. It was sore for awhile, and I didnt ride for a few days, and rode gingerly for a few days after that. Sneezing and coughing were painful for a couple weeks. I know it was broken now, because I have a big fat bone callous, or lump, in the rib where it healed. There's not much they can do for it anyway.

  9. #9
    ravingbikefiend
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    Broken ribs suck... but not enough to keep me from riding.

    I figure I cracked a few ribs last year and and know I broke a few this year and just kept rolling while avoiding things like taking deep breaths, laughing, or coughing.

    Sleeping was the hardest as although I could lie down in reasonable comfort, turning over was nearly impossible and getting up was an adventure.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

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  10. #10
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    As stated above, ribs fractures are difficult to diagnos by standard x ray. Not much can be done to treat them other than resting it. If your doctor really wants to know or if you want to know if it's fractured ask for a nuclear med whole body bone scan. Fractured ribs light up like a light bulb. Good luck with your recovery.
    And a good day to you sir!

  11. #11
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    back on the bike

    well i don't know if my rib is broken or not, still a bit sore after 3 weeks. Did a bunch of road riding but now I'm back on the bike. Finally got back on the single speed it had been a while almost 5 weeks since the WP race. It hurt to stand and pull up on the bars but not enough to stop.

  12. #12
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    As said, if it is a minor rib fracture, it is sometimes hard to see. I cracked a rib one a few years ago, they just said it was a bad contusion. I went back for a skiing accident a few months later and the old crack showed up because they were shooting the xray from a different angle.

    Doc walk in and says "No broken bones, but did you know you cracked a rib about 3 months ago?"
    Disclaimer: I no longer fix bikes for a living.
    National Ski Patroller to feed my winter habit.

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