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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: Blunt Blow To Chest: No lasting Pain But Deformed Appearance

 Pinkydoo - Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:11 pm

Good evening!

I am hoping that perhaps someone will be able to provide a little more insight into the structural nature of the ribcage than I have been able to glean on my own, and perhaps provide some ideas on whether I am overstressing this or not. If not, I am not sure what type of professional I should see for further assistance.

Over the weekend I had a ladder slip out from under me. (I suppose it ought to have occured to me that a dusty, slick garage floor isn't exactly the best traction. o.0 ) Long story short it resulting in a pretty nasty blow to the chest since it got caught on some junk, and I took it pretty full on in the chest. Aside from the obvious soreness/bruise or two, I seriously got the wind knocked out of me. Definately not pleasant. But after a few minutes I was able to move around pretty well and it was only slightly tender to the touch. I just put some ice on it and chilled for awhile. I figured if something were actually wrong, my body would sure as heck let me know it.

The wierd thing is that I did notice some continuing pressure on the right side where it happened for the next few days, and it looked like my ribcage had actually been dented in at the lower part. That kind of continued to get to be a nuisance, feeling like something was pushing on my lung. A doctor looked at it and said there was no injury and I'm probably fine. I got a second opinion in a walk in clinic, though this was an NP, and she said the same thing. That if there were any actual injury I would be in pain and not walking around and picking up my daughter with no problems, etc. The annoying this is it felt like she was just blowing me off as some yuppie who has insurance so comes in for so much as a paper cut. I kept trying to ask her about the dent in my chest and she kept insisting nothing looked out of place. I couldn't believe her because it was such an OBVIOUSLY unsymettrical appearance, and anybody I knew who I'd asked found it obvious as well. I guess she just had made up her mind there wasn't a problem.

I know this sounds like a terribly dumb thing to mess with but I actually went home and to some extent "pulled my rib out of my lung"... And got some serious relief on the lung pressure that way. By pulling on my ribcage out. It really at this point looks a bit better but there is still to some extent an inward indentation where the 7th rib should be connecting to what I understand is the cartilage structure connecting it to the sternum. Where the rib should connect to the costal ( ? ) cartilige it just turns into the ribcage.

I read about an injury called a costal separation that isn't very hard to get, and that sounds like a pretty good fit. Except I get the picture I would be in a lot of pain, not just a little tender if you push on exactly the right spot. I certainly would not have been able to mess around with my ribs that way from the sound of it. Am I overthinking this and will things just line up right on its own? I hate to sound like a hypochondriac and I cant really afford to run around visiting clinics till I hit the right person (I'm sure my insurance would kill me too heh).

If not, what kind of doctor is the person to ask? Someone mentioned a chiropractor might be the sort of person to push the rib back into place. I read elsewhere to just leave it alone (assuming its a separation) and it will heal on its own.

Again I'm not in pain and I don't want to make something out of nothing, it just really doesn't look right!

Thank you a million times for anybody who answers. I'm extremely appreciative of you folks for being so kind as to share your knowledge in this way.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:55 pm

User avatar Hello -

You could have a costal separation, but it would be difficult to know for sure without having an x-ray of the area, since no one seems able to visualize or palpate it. The other possibility is that you already had a floating rib and it was disturbed by the blow. Since most rib injuries don't require much in the way of treatment anyway, and adding to the the fact that most of us have visibly assymetrical anatomies anyway, this probably accounts for the rather casual reception you've received twice. I would think, however, that an x-ray wouldn't be unreasonable. If you could know just what is going on you could then perhaps get comfortable with it, since it doesn't seem to be causing you any real problems.

I hope this is helpful, as rib injuries (other than gross trauma/crusing injuries) don't usually require much care. Best of luck to you. Please let us know how things play out.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:26 am

User avatar I hope you are feeling better. Please keep us updated.

Best regards,

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