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Discussion: Broken Ribs and Running

in: Orienteering; General

Oct 29, 2019 3:02 AM # 
Last Saturday was the second time I broke my ribs while Orienteering. I am trying to jog but I am worrying that I may damage it more. It does hurt but I can tolerate while jogging slowly and steady.
Conflicting information online.
Did anyone try running with broken ribs before?
Oct 29, 2019 3:38 AM # 
My experience was that while activity didn’t seem to make things worse, real improvement didn’t occur until I took a couple weeks off. In the beginning running can undo the healing that had occurred in the previous 23 hours. That’s how it worked out for me — YMMV.
Oct 29, 2019 3:38 AM # 
I broke a rib early in a Highlander once. The rest was a slow, careful walk.

If it hurts, maybe it's telling you something. Take it easy.
Oct 29, 2019 5:08 AM # 
I've been exercising with a cracked rib for a month now. It seemed fine when going at an easy pace five days after the incident but a week after I pushed a bit harder and it made it pretty sore for a couple of days. Two weeks later was also not the best.

Four weeks later and it's 'okay' but I haven't yet tried to run at the pace I was doing pre-injury. MTBing on the other hand is causing no issues.
Oct 29, 2019 5:41 AM # 
Uncle JiM:
I cracked my ribs a few years back. Best thing I did was to keep doing interval work. Yes, it hurts a little when you do some deep breathing, but .....
Oct 29, 2019 7:59 AM # 
I broke 5 ribs and initial GP response was to treat the pain. Easy for a week, 5km jog-walk-jog at 10 days, painful sleeping couple of days later, X-ray, hospital for pneumo and haemothorax. Post-discharge gradual return to activity, mostly walking (mapping) and biking (hills). Minimal rib pain but (reducing) shortness of breath. Tired (ie sleepy) more than usual. Est phys condition (time trial) about 80% at 6 weeks, 95% at 10 weeks.

Your damage may be completely different, but the ribs themselves seemed to heal rather well.
Oct 29, 2019 11:58 AM # 
I've cracked ribs a few times*, through falling onto my fists. This came about because previous falls landing on my outstretched hands had done a lot of damage to fingers, hands and wrist (including two overnight surgeries under general anaesthetic; you don't want to fall on a rock or a fallen branch), so now I tend to protect them.

* Debatable whether it was always the ribs, the same type of falling can damage the pectoral muscle, and really no doctor can tell the difference as x-rays can't always pick up a rib fracture.

Either way, rest is best. You don't want to puncture a lung!
Oct 29, 2019 8:00 PM # 
I took about 6 weeks off of running and orienteering and then in week 8 ran an 50 km trail ultra. All good.
Oct 29, 2019 10:11 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I have never broken anything, not for lack of trying, but I do have had two cases of cracked ribs: In both cases the pain increased for about a week, then it plateaued for the second week before going back down during the third week. At that point I could do pretty much anything again, with no pain.
Oct 29, 2019 10:32 PM # 
My pain increases with every kilometer I try to jog - max is 5 K I can do with pain. I think I will just take off for a week and try again... Thank you all!
Oct 30, 2019 12:30 AM # 
Now that I posted the aforementioned, I went for a MTB ride today and it was a bit sore again. The times in the previous two weekends where it wasn't may have been because of race conditions (adrenalin) negating any soreness or the fact I was on an ibuporofen/paracetamol combo to dull the pain during races.
Oct 30, 2019 1:31 AM # 
I found, when I had broken ribs and was recovered enough to do some running, that running uphill was a lot less stressful on the ribs than running downhill or on level ground. Presumably because there was more jarring going downhill. Might want to keep that in mind, as you ease back into running.
Oct 30, 2019 5:14 AM # 
If you are just relying on Dr Google, Angelica, try a proper doctor. My story was intended to illustrate possible variations in the damage that might be there.
Oct 30, 2019 8:11 AM # 
My experience is that its fine to try to run on broken rib, because it's so painful you'll soon stop if you're doing damage. Typically about six weeks before I actually enjoyed running again.

This discussion thread is closed.