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Cracked rib......Not mine

My sister in law was hoping to compete in her first triathlon at the end of May. She has today been diagnosed with a cracked rib. The doctors were apparently pretty vague about recovery and therefore I am asking whether anyone else has any experience of this.

Bearing in mind that she has only just got to swimming 20 lengths (25 metre pool) continuously, and the injury is probably going to stop her from swimming, what are her chances of being fit to compete?

I know everyone recovers differently, but any ideas.


  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Can I ask how it happened?

    I would think she will be fine to compete in may. The fracture itself is likely to take 6 weeks to heal to a point where its fairly strong, and probably 10 weeks or so to heal fully. What she needs to be careful of is any blow to the rib that may cause disruption of the callous (healing bone), thus lengthening recovery time.

    The only problem I can see is the pain is often exacerbated by deep breathing. I would suggest she avoids sport over the next 3-4 weeks, taking simple painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen for the pain. The best dose she can take is 400mg ibuprofen (2 standard tabs), and 1g paracetamol (2 tabs).

    After 4 weeks she can assess the rib by applying gentle pressure, it should no longer be tender, but she may feel a bump which is the callous forming over the fracture.

    After it is no longer painful for her to be breathing deeply she can happily resume swimming and cycling. I would advise waiting for 6 weeks to start running again as the shockwaves from the pounding may disrupt the callous.

    Hope that helps

  • pigsy65pigsy65 Posts: 25
    I have had fractured ribs about 4 times when I was in my 20s, usually 2-3 ribs. They always seemed to heal pretty quickly. the main problem as tommitri says is the breathing (if you tell your mates, they always try to make you laugh. they are evil! lol) but I would normaly start light sparring after eight weeks. Do what Tommitri says, but see how you feel. The pain does subside reasonably quickly and you can start training slowly.you should be fine for May. Hope you feel better soon!!

  • GGBGGB Posts: 482
    Not had fractured rib but I broke one in a car accident a few years back - (Not that I was actively exercising back in the days) but I was out of physical action for nearly 6 months and it was still painful up to a year after the accident - I remember I couldn't drive a manual car for about 3 weeks.

    As long as its only a fracture and she doesnt do any further damage in the next few weeks then she should be ok. Just tell her to take it easy and not stress it any way. Ribs are a preveribial pain ... they heal in their own time and ultimately only time will tell.

  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    a fracture is a break, how bad and where was your fracture?
  • GGBGGB Posts: 482
    TommiTri wrote:

    a fracture is a break, how bad and where was your fracture?

    A fracture is a crack not a break - my rib snapped in two, as in two pieces, mine was the bottom right hand rib - I also had problems with out of line breastplate - and trouble breathing.

  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    sorry matey but a fracture and a break are the same thing, what you may be thinking of is a hairline fracture which is an incomplete fracture of the bone.

    Yours does sound pretty nasty though, did you have any displacement of the bone fragments?
  • Friend of mine did a sprint and half IM with a cracked rib last year he did well and had no bad after effects.didn't find out it was crcked until after he'd done the events took it easy for a few weeks after that though!
  • Tommitri,

    Shes not sure how she did it. She hasn't taken any blows to the ribs. She has had a fairly bad cold over the last two weeks and believes that it may have resulted from a really bad coughing fit.
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