Let broken ribs lie

You know that old saying, "let sleeping dogs lie"? Well, this is a good thing to remember with broken ribs, too. Like other broken bones, broken ribs have to be treated with caution so they don't shift from their positions as they heal. It is a slow process, taking several months. For other broken bones, the doctor can set the bone with a splint, cast, or sling to ensure the broken ends are kept together, avoiding misshapen features or a loss of function. The ribs are in an awkward position in the body for this kind of help. Doctors used to use a compression wrap around the chest to help keep the rib bones in place, but these wraps can prevent the ability to take deep breaths and increase the risk of pneumonia.

So what should you do? Follow your doctor's instructions and keep your activity levels low for at least 6 weeks. Read more about the healing process of broken ribs and find out why it takes so long.

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