Symptoms Of Broken Ribs After An Accident

April 23, 2023 Posted In Car Accidents

Broken ribs are a common injury that can occur after an accident, such as a car crash, sports injury, or a fall. The ribs are fragile bones that protect the chest and vital organs, and can easily break when exposed to forceful trauma. If you suspect you have broken ribs after an accident, it is critical to seek medical attention immediately. Here are some common symptoms of broken ribs to be aware of. 

Pain When Breathing Deeply or Coughing

This is one of the most common symptoms of broken ribs. The pain may be sharp and intense, and it can worsen when you cough or take deep breaths. This is because the movement of the ribcage can cause the broken bones to rub against each other, causing pain.

Pain in the Chest or Back

Broken ribs can cause pain in the chest or back, depending on which ribs are broken. The pain may be localized to one area, or radiate across the chest or back.

Tenderness or Swelling

You may notice tenderness or swelling around the area where the ribs are broken. In addition, the skin may be bruised or discolored, and you may feel a lump or bump under the skin.

Difficulty Breathing

Broken ribs can cause severe pain when breathing. Therefore, you may find it challenging to take a deep breath. This can lead to shortness of breath or a feeling of tightness in the chest.


Crepitus is a cracking or popping sound that can occur when you move the affected area. For example, if you have broken ribs, you may hear a crunching or popping sound when you move your chest or back.

Abdominal Pain

Broken ribs can sometimes cause pain in the abdomen, as they can press against internal organs. This can lead to abdominal pain or discomfort.

Potential Complications of Broken Ribs

Broken ribs can lead to several complications, particularly if the injury is severe or left untreated. For instance: 


When a broken rib punctures the lung, air can leak into the space between the lung and chest wall, causing a collapsed lung or pneumothorax.


A broken rib can also cause bleeding into the space between the lung and chest wall, leading to chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms, and may require emergency treatment.

Pulmonary Contusion

When a rib breaks, it can cause a bruise or contusion on the lung tissue. This can increase the risk of developing pneumonia or other respiratory infections.

Aortic Injury

If one of the first three ribs at the top of the rib cage break, the sharp end can pierce a major blood vessel, including the aorta. 

What to Do if You Think You Have Broken Ribs After an Accident

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above after an accident, do not hesitate to seek help from a healthcare provider as soon as possible. A doctor can perform a physical exam, take X-rays or other imaging tests, and provide you with pain relief and other treatments to help you recover. In some cases, you may need to wear a chest brace or undergo surgery to repair the broken ribs. With proper treatment, most people are able to recover from broken ribs and return to their normal activities in a few weeks to several months.

If your accident was preventable and caused due to another party’s negligence, consider consulting a Riverside car accident lawyer. They can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve for your losses. 

Request a free consultation
request a free ,br>consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.