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Broken posterior 11th Right RIB

it s been 2 days, confirmed by hospital CT scan and X-rays, my Right 11th rib fracture, non displaced
The pain when I want to flex and rotate is extreme, sleeping is hard, do my everyday things are too difficult.
I m taking DILAUDID ((hydromorphone hydrochloride)) few times a day, few Advils, Tylenols .... and still in pain
They told me in emergancy no surgery is required.

I m a doctor (podiatrist) and my work next week is questionable, some people around me don't believe me it hurst so much, my life is difficult now. I m 28 old, active, healthy, 6feet tall, 170lb.

How long I will or have to suffer ????
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replied March 24th, 2013
Especially eHealthy
deki112,

Sorry, but there is not a whole lot you can do for broken ribs, except let them heal.


You might see if you can get an elastic rib binder. It can make the discomfort a little bit better, here in the acute stage. But, you will have to remember to still do your deep breathing on a regular basis, or you will develop atelectasis.


The 11th rib is free floating, as it is not connected to the sternum. But, it still has the intercostal muscle attachments, which also get contused when a rib is fractured. Also, that low down, you worry a little about the diaphram. Also, on the left, there is the spleen, on the right the liver. The kidneys are pretty well protected, but they are also of concern when the rib is fractured in the posterior aspect.

But, since you have had a CT scan done, all of these structures have probably been checked out. You might still have some blood in the urine, if a kidney was contused. But, again, there is not much to do with that, except let it heal.


Again, you might see if you can obtain a rib binder. You can usually get one at most pharmacies. It will not take all of the pain away, but it might make you a little more comfortable, here at first.

If you have an incentive spirometer, you might also want to use that several times a day. Deep breathing is going to hurt, but it is very necessary. With the Schedule II opioids, you are going to have some respiratory depression, so that along with the rib fracture, you are a set up for developing atelectasis (and then pneumonia).


It usually takes about 4-6 weeks for a broken rib to unite. But, you should start feeling a bit better before that. However, you are going to be uncomfortable for a good week to 10 days. Remember, it is not just the bone that is injured, but the periosteum on the bone and the intercostal muscles.


Ice will help with the swelling and discomfort at first. After a while, heat may be more soothing.


Good luck. Remember to breathe deeply, often.

Wishing you the best.
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