A rib contusion is a bruise to one or more rib bones. It may cause pain, tenderness, swelling and a purplish discoloration. There may be a sharp pain with each breath. A rib contusion takes a few days, to a few weeks to heal.
A small crack (fracture) in the rib may cause the same symptoms as a rib contusion. The small crack may not be seen on a chest x-ray. However, the treatment of these two conditions are the same.
Rest. You should not be doing any heavy lifting or strenuous exertion, or any activity that causes pain.
Apply an ice pack (ice cubes in a plastic bag, wrapped in a towel) over the injured area for 20 minutes every 1-2 hours the first day. Continue with ice packs 3-4 times a day for the next two days, then as needed for the relief of pain and swelling.
You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) to control pain, unless another pain medicine was prescribed. [NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.]
with your doctor during the next week or as directed.
Get Prompt Medical Attention
if any of the following occur:
Shortness of breath
Increasing chest pain with breathing or congested cough
Dizziness, weakness or fainting
New or worsening of abdominal pain
Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider