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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone trauma and fractures

Question: I FELL COMING OUT OF THE BATHTUB AND INJURED MY RIBS


 CELIAZISSIE - Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:54 am

I WAS KEELED OVER IN PAIN AFTER SLIPPING COMING OUT OF THE BATHTUB. MY RIBS ON THE LEFT WERE REALLY KILLING ME IN PAIN. I TOOK SOME TYLENOL. I COULDNT BREATHE NORMALLY FOR FIVE MINUTES. SHORT OF BREATH. I JUST STAYED KEELED OVER IN A FETAL POSITION ON THE FLOOR AND THEN I RESTED IN BED. THE NEXT DAY I WENT TO THE FAMILY PHYSICIAN WHO TOLD ME THAT IT WILL HEALE IN A FEW WEEKS - IF IT WAS BROKEN I WOULDNT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WALK AROUND. HE TOLD ME TO GO OFF THE TYLENOL AND GO ON ADVIL. IT DOES WORK A LOT BETTER. THE PAIN IS SUBSIDING BUT I AM CONCERNED. WHEN I LOOK IN THE MIRROR MY LEFT SIDE IS SWOLLEN, LOWER THAN THE RIGHT SIDE. DID MY RIBS BECOME DISCLOCATED OR IS THIS JUST SWELLING. I DIDNT HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS YESTERDAY. WHATS GOING ON? IS THIS PART OF THE HEALING PROCESS. THE PAIN IS GETTING LESS SO IS THIS A GOOD SIGN OR DO I HAVE TO VISIT AN ORTHOPOD TO CHECK IT OUT. MY HUSBAND IS MORE WORRIED THAN I AM. THANKS FOR YOUR REPLY. I CAN UPLOAD A DIGITAL PHOTO IF YOU TELL ME HOW. THANKS--
 Dr. Anthony Solomon - Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:53 am

Your rib injury is caused by blunt trauma and if one or more ribs are fractured, can be extremely painful. A fractured or sprained rib can heal on its own, but it is important to monitor for any underlying injuries to the lung. The fact that you are improving and have no breathing difficulties implies no lung injury. However, even if a rib is fractured, you would still be able to walk around because the other ribs in the rib cage act as support.

A gross swelling at the point of impact implies a fracture, but radiological survey is necessary for confirmation and reassurance. Basic treatment involves managing the pain, just as your doctor has prescribed.


Dr Anthony Solomon
Consultant Physician, Tropical & Genitourinary Medicine

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