View Full Version : Fractured rib and recovery

Ryan Atkins
08-16-2003, 09:34 AM
In a recent sparring session, I fractured one of my ribs. The advice I receive from every source I've checked is that rest (usually 3 to 6 weeks) is the only way to recover from this type of injury.

Sometime ago, I remember reading that people were able to speed the recovery of injured body parts by staying active with the non-injured areas. For example, if you injure your leg, you continue exercising with your upper body and your good leg. This is also supposed to help avoid atrophy, even in the injured area. The problem I am running into is deciding on what kind of exercises to do with my type of injury. The torso is used for stabilization in so many of the exercises we do that my choices seem extremely limited. I've performed a couple of air squats without problem, but even picking up my two-year-old son causes minor pain. The thought of confining my exercise regime to bicep curls, triceps extensions, leg extensions and the like for the next couple of weeks is, quite frankly, repulsing. Unless somebody can offer something better, however, it may seem that I have little choice.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Kelly Moore
08-16-2003, 12:00 PM

I broke a rib in my back early this year falling from the upper level in the hay loft; I too was told to just rest. For someone who doesn't feel fondly of TV or sitting around, it was crushing not to be able to move around much less lift; it hurt bad enough I couldn't even use my 1# mallet when woodcarving. Rather than suffering with my normal reaction - becoming depressed and a monster to live with - I tried what had worked for me several years ago after a hernia operation. I spent time bicycling, walking and hiking, moving real slow in the beginning. I would set goals like walking around the block today, stopping as much and going as slow as needed, just make it. In each case, it wasn't what I wanted to be doing, but I was able to stay in relatively good spirits and in both times healed up enough in a week to do some light lifting (air squats, dips, pullups, etc). I would do what I could without undue pain. I was almost completely recovered in 4 weeks; just couldn't do real heavy twisting or lifting motions. The doctors did not approve, but they were surprised and pleased with this old girl's faster than normal recovery.

Hang in there and try to find something to keep your spirits up and your body moving.

Roger Harrell
08-18-2003, 07:57 AM
I would start with some low resistance slow motions first. With ribs you will feel what you can and can not do. As long as you don't do any sudden movements you're not likely to aggrivate the injury without feeling it first. Fracturing ribs is definately a hinderance. I cracked three running into the vault once. Not fun.

Ryan Atkins
08-18-2003, 11:58 AM
Thanks for the input, you two. I've been taking things real slow. Pull-ups are out of the question, but I can do really slow dips. I can manage a a slow jog as well. I'm also able to act as a 'feeder' for padwork when my 16 yo step-daughter wants to practice her boxing combos. It's not much, but at least it's something. Kelly, thanks for alerting me to the psychological factors about my injury. Over the weekend, I've noticed that if I don't keep it in check, I can get agitated and withdrawn easier than usual. Also, my mental focus seems to be lagging (or was that always the case?)