Updated: Sep 30, 2019
Fractured ribs, or broken ribs, are a common occurrence after many car accidents and slip and fall accidents. Although they’re stabilized by a meshwork of strong muscles, ribs are unprotected, which means they’re prone to injury when a significant impact occurs that involves the chest or back.
Fractured ribs can make it very difficult to perform many of the activities of daily life. Depending on how many ribs have been broken and the severity of the fracture, they can also cause considerable suffering. Sometimes, ribs may be pushed into the body, puncturing the lungs or damaging other organs or soft tissues. When a fracture causes a piece of rib to break free of the ribcage, the result is a life-threatening injury called “flail chest.”
Symptoms of a Fractured Rib
A broken rib can cause different symptoms depending on the extent of the injury, including:
1. Mild to significant pain in chest
2. Pain that occurs when you breathe, especially when trying to breathe deeply
3. Pain when the bone in the center of your chest, your breastbone, is pressed
In addition, because a broken rib can make breathing painful, you may also experience:
1. Shortness of breath
2. Anxiety or panic
You can also experience a lot of internal pain, depending upon whether the ribs have pressed against or injured organs or other tissues. When a fracture prevents proper breathing, pneumonia can develop.
Treating a Fractured Rib
Because they’re near your heart, lungs and other organs, fractured ribs need to be seen and treated by an experienced doctor. Treatment varies and can include:
1. diagnostic imaging such as x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI
2. Immobilization to enable healing and prevent puncture of organs
3. Surgery to reattach a rib or stabilize a fracture
4. Physical therapy
5. Use of muscle relaxants or pain medications
While you heal, you may need care in performing many tasks, such as dressing, bathing, using the toilet and walking.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or slip and fall accident that resulted in a fractured rib or any serious injury, having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side is the best way to make sure your accident-related damages are covered. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.