A rib fracture is a break of one of the twelve bones of the chest wall. A rib fracture is a very painful injury that often causes pain with laughing, coughing, or straining. It also limits sports performance, causing pain with overhead activity or contact.
Diagnosis of a rib fracture is mostly a clinical one. A chest x-ray often cannot demonstrate this fracture. A patient could get a CT scan, but that’s an expensive test that likely doesn’t change the treatment.
Treatment of a rib fracture
Treatment usually requires nothing more than time for the fracture to heal. Unfortunately, there aren’t many reliable ways to speed the healing process. Some professional sports teams will have their athlete wear a bone stimulator, although there is little proof it speeds the time to full healing.