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A rib fracture is a break in a rib bone.
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Some causes are:
Things that may raise the risk of rib fracture are:
Symptoms may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You will also be asked how the injury happened. An exam will be done that focuses on your chest, lungs, and back.
Images will be taken of your chest. This can be done with:
It can take three to six weeks for a rib fracture to heal. The goals of treatment are to manage pain and support the bone as it heals. Options may be:
Most fractures are due to accidents. To lower the risk:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Broken or bruised ribs. NHS Choices website. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rib-injuries/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Updated December 15, 2017. Accessed September 30, 2019.
Murphy CE 4th, Raja AS, et al. Rib Fracture Diagnosis in the Panscan Era. Ann Emerg Med. 2017 Dec;70(6):904-909.
Rib fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/management/rib-fracture-emergency-management. Accessed September 30, 2019.
Rib fracture. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries-poisoning/thoracic-trauma/rib-fracture. Updated November 2018. Accessed September 30, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 9/30/2019