A broken rib, or fractured rib, is a common injury that occurs when one of the bones in your rib cage breaks or cracks. The most common cause of broken ribs is a blow to the chest from trauma injuries such as those sustained from sporting injuries, car accidents, and others. Most broken bones are simply cracked and can heal on their own within one to two months; however, in more severe cases where the ribs have been broken, proper medical assistance is necessary to repair possible damage to major blood vessels or internal organs, such as the lungs. Pain control is also crucial to ensure proper breathing and avoid lung complications such as pneumonia.


The most common symptoms for a broken rib include:

  • Inability to take deep breaths
  • Increased chest pain
  • Inability to bend or twist the body


Possible causes for a broken rib may include:

  • Falls
  • Sporting injuries
  • Physical fights
  • Car accidents
  • Child abuse

Risk Factors 

There are some factors that may cause risk increase of a broken rib. These risk factors include:

  • Bone Disease (Osteoporosis)
  • Participation in contact sports
  • Cancerous lesion in a rib  


Complications of a broken rib may include:

  • Torn or penetrated aorta
  • Punctured lung
  • Injury to the spleen, liver or kidneys


A few recommendations for preventing a broken rib may include:

  • Wearing protective gear when playing sports 
  • Removing clutter from the home environment
  • Eating calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese, and others.