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Rib Fracture

A rib fracture is a crack or break in one of the bones of the rib cage.

A rib fracture is most often caused by a direct blow to the chest. Other causes include forceful coughing or having thin bones (such as from osteoporosis or cancer).

A rib fracture can be very painful:

  • At the site where the chest was injured (localized pain).
  • With deep breathing.
  • When pressure is applied to the injured area.

The treatment for a rib fracture that does not occur with a more serious injury is usually rest, ice to the area, and medicine to relieve pain.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Current as ofApril 16, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.