Diagnosis of a displaced rib

Objective examination

A dislocated rib is diagnosed by touch (palpation) on the location of the injury. The doctor will feel unevenness on the surface of the ribs, the patient will express feeling strong pain (such as twisted rib pain) followed by cracking (crepitation) and movement of the displaced rib head under more intensive pressure.

Radiology diagnosis

A suspected misaligned rib will most reliably be determined by radiography of the chest cavity in several directions, an ultrasound examination or computer topography.

It is not always easy to distinguish a dislocated from a separated rib, but it is important to diagnose properly to prevent any complications of these injuries as they can lead to more difficult injuries with serious consequences.

A radiology diagnosis will also exclude other possible injuries that could be connected with a dislocated or fractured rib.

Possible Complications of dislocated rib

A dislocated or separated rib can lead to different complications that can be followed by less or more difficult consequences. For example, the patient can develop an infection of poured blood on the place of injury that can lead to the abscess of the chest wall with possible blood poisoning.

Broken pieces of the rib can cause the breaking of inter-rib blood cells that can lead to deadly bleeding in the chest cavity (although this is an extremely rare case).

A dislocated or fractured rib is followed by intensive pain that often limits chest movement and limits breathing volume. Rib movements can be very extensive and can put pressure on the chest cavity, preventing lungs in inspiration (inhaling) that can  cause secondary lung inflammation.

Recovering from a dislocation of the rib

Patients with a dislocated rib/rib injury usually completely recover within 4 to 6 weeks or longer in a case of a more serious injury or fracture, the recovery time could prolong for several months.

By introducing certain recovery therapy and exercises a dislocated rib recovery time can be greatly reduced.

such exercise and therapy may include

  • Special massage
  • Special exercise to target the affected area
  • PRP therapy
  • Yoga

Return to more demanding physical activities is possible quite soon (depending on the seriousness of the injury), if the patient applies protective measures to prevent repeating the injury or worsening of the current condition.



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