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Old 07-30-04, 02:10 PM   #1
gahaya
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Rib injury - should I hold off cycling?

I just had an (idiotic) end-over crash this morning, falling heavily on my side. Not badly hurt, just big scrapes on my arm, side, hip, and bruises. But I suspect I might have slightly cracked a rib - in any event, it's bruised. I can't breathe deeply, cough, or laugh without it hurting. I am not much of an athlete and have not encountered this before, so I tried to look up general advice on what to do for rib injuries. Everywhere I've read said that the only thing is to let it naturally heal, but to avoid straining it and to "rest". A lot of websites said a minor crack could take 3-6 weeks to heal, as long as one "rested".

Since a lot of the information I found was aimed at runners and other athletes in high-impact sports, I was wondering, does cycling count as not "resting" if I don't overdo it? I can't see how it would strain my ribs except for breathing hard. I need to get my front wheel fixed up first, but after that, would it be okay for me to hop back on the saddle? I'd hate to stop cycling for several weeks but don't want to inhibit my recovery.

Sorry if it's a dumb question, I'm new at this getting-banged-up stuff and would appreciate any advice.
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Old 07-30-04, 02:13 PM   #2
Ebbtide
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Show your mom what you just wrote and see what she has to say.

Take a rest. If it hurts when riding, listen to your body. Go to the doctor if you can.
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Old 07-30-04, 03:03 PM   #3
SteveE
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I bruised my ribs about 6 weeks ago. It didn't hurt too bad unless I took a really deep breath. My body wouldn't let me sneeze for a couple of weeks. I'd start to feel one coming on and the brain just stifled it.

Anyway, I kept riding but kept away from any big efforts. I'd say you're probably OK if you take it easy and don't fall on that side for awhile. :-)
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Old 07-30-04, 06:35 PM   #4
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When I cracked a rib, doctor told me I could go back to work (messenger) the next day, if I could stand the pain. I was hoping for some prescibed rest, but I went back to work. (Early in my career I was hard-core, now probably would take a week off or at least a few days.) It cost less than $100 back then for xray and advice. Doctor also gave me a tight wrap thing to wear around my chest, which helped keep the road shock and pain down. Still hurt alot, though, but only when I breathed, etc. Maybe get yours looked at just so you know? If I had forgone the doctor visit, probably would have taken more days off, costing more in the long run. It happenned off-road on a sunday, doctor monday, back to work tuesday.
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Old 07-30-04, 08:22 PM   #5
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I thought I had cracked a rib in '99 while BMX racing.

*note to self: starting BMX racing over 30 is bad.

Three weeks later I was in the ER with them trying to figure out what the intense pain was. To make a long story short, it wasn't a cracked rib, it was my spleen. I spent a couple days in the ICU and month getting CT scans. It very nearly killed me, and I was not allowed to even look at a bike for a year.

If you aren't positive it's a rib, get it checked. I was pretty sure myself.
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Old 07-30-04, 08:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gahaya
I just had an (idiotic) end-over crash this morning, falling heavily on my side. Not badly hurt, just big scrapes on my arm, side, hip, and bruises. But I suspect I might have slightly cracked a rib - in any event, it's bruised. I can't breathe deeply, cough, or laugh without it hurting. I am not much of an athlete and have not encountered this before, so I tried to look up general advice on what to do for rib injuries. Everywhere I've read said that the only thing is to let it naturally heal, but to avoid straining it and to "rest". A lot of websites said a minor crack could take 3-6 weeks to heal, as long as one "rested".

Since a lot of the information I found was aimed at runners and other athletes in high-impact sports, I was wondering, does cycling count as not "resting" if I don't overdo it? I can't see how it would strain my ribs except for breathing hard. I need to get my front wheel fixed up first, but after that, would it be okay for me to hop back on the saddle? I'd hate to stop cycling for several weeks but don't want to inhibit my recovery.

Sorry if it's a dumb question, I'm new at this getting-banged-up stuff and would appreciate any advice.

go to a doctor.
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Old 07-30-04, 08:36 PM   #7
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Go see your doc instead of seeking medical advice on an internet forum.
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Old 07-30-04, 09:15 PM   #8
P. B. Walker
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I did pretty much the same thing last year on Memorial day. It had just rained and I was hauling butt over a wooden bridge. The wood was really wet and I just wasn't thinking. Bike slide out from under me and I landed right on my left side.

The first two days I actually felt pretty good. No rib pain, just a scraped knee. On the third day, the rib pain was horrible. It slowly got better, but I kept riding, just didn't do hard efforts and I was very careful with my speed and watching where I was going so I didn't crash again. It took about 3 weeks before I could start pushing it again. And probably 6 weeks before the pain went totally away.

I didn't bother going to the hospital.. mainly because the pain didn't hit for 3 days. Plus it wasn't a constant pain, it only hurt when I moved a certain way. So I figured it was just bruised ribs... possibly a small crack. But I would suggest you follow the other's advice and have a doctor check you out just to make sure. Or at the very least, call your regular doc and ask him what you should do.
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Old 07-31-04, 03:14 AM   #9
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Well even if you break ribs, they don't do anything to treat them. I had 2 broken ribs among other things from a crash and I was able to ride with them. It hurt but I was able to do it.

The thing is that as people have said getting it checked might be a good idea. That is why they have X-Rays. It is good to know if you have a serious injury and how bad or minor it is when you have some pain even if they can not do anything but let it heal naturally.
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Old 07-31-04, 05:10 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for the responses. I was still kind of freaked out when I wrote the original post, and in denial about the idea that I'd have to take some time off. Now that it's been over 24 hours since the crash, the rib discomfort has actually gone down a lot, while a hip bruise and generally soreness and stiffness has become more noticeable. I think the advice to take things easy for now, monitor what's going on, and get myself checked out by a doctor if things don't keep improving steadily if slowly makes the most sense to me (unfortunately, I don't have a doctor, but will seek one out if need be.) Thanks again.
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