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Cracked rib, how long to heal and should I train?

gettrickygettricky Posts: 103
Hi Folks,

I've only started MTBing again (seriously) in the past 6 months and probably only been on 10 proper rides, 6 of them in Wales on Red/Black routes. So still in the early stages of the curve in fitness and skill, was just getting into it (and with the weather getting good too).

Have signed up for Mega this summer, just to push my boundaries abit (well, ALOT), so been stepping it up, been to Wales every weekend.

This weekend gone, did the Raven trail at Brechfa and managed to fall offf on some slate, landing on my arm and chest. Pretty sure I've cracked a rib, hurts when I breath, cough, sneeze, move, lay down etc etc. B*stard. Either that or its badly bruised and there is little you can do than sit it out.

Just getting to the right level of fitness to really give it some beans and only a couple months left before the Mega, worst scenario really, I'm slightly stressed about it.

Anyone had experience of hurting ribs? Its normally about 6 weeks to heal, should I just stick to gym work cardio/weights (low impact) or just keep on riding and push through it?

Could really do with the training/experience over the next 6 weeks.

Advice really appreciated.



Pitch Pro 2009


  • There's a lot of soft tissue between yor ribs and it's easy to tear - did mine last year. I seem to remember it took a while to heal, and I made mine worse lugging a motorbike round so I guess taking it easy wuld be good advice. six weeks should do it, mine took longer but I did agravate it.
    Be happy, communicate happiness.
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    6 weeks and no less..... :(

    (I cracked a rib last year and everyone told me that. It's true :? )
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

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  • rgarnerrgarner Posts: 77
    I broke a rib last October (at the same time I avulsed my fifth metatarsal), or at least did something that meant I couldn't sit/stand/breathe/laugh without extreme pain. Obviously they don't x-ray for this, they just assume it's broken.

    In any case, after about a week and a half of lying around, I thought I felt a bit better and went to have a bit of a play on my electronic drums (having just received a new sound module and being pretty much incapable of waiting). I managed about half an hour and felt great.

    I got up the following morning with everything hurting far more than when I'd fallen and pretty much unable to move again. That half hour set me back about a week (which cost me a fair amount as I'm a freelancer). All advice which says "don't do it" would seem to be correct. Give yourself *at least* three weeks, preferably four, before risking anything much. You just can't tell - you might not have done something terribly severe, but there's no way of finding out until you make things worse.

    That said, you *might* get away with cycling, I didn't try that one :wink:
  • gettrickygettricky Posts: 103
    Well, I went to Kung Fu tonight so my instructor could look at it, he said I should train, he's trained with broken ribs blah, blah. We do a Tai Chi session first, that was fine, hardly hurt at all.

    As soon as Kung Fu started, it hurt alot, and I left all the seroius stuff out, even doing gentle stuff. I'm a bit worried I've made it worse now.

    I'm pretty worried, if I wait 6 weeks it only leave me 1.5 months to train for the Mega, which was already going to be a stretch..

    :shock: :(

    Pitch Pro 2009
  • rgarnerrgarner Posts: 77
    You didn't mention Kung Fu - I would have thought that was RIGHT out :D
  • Mate I'd seriously just give it a couple of weeks doing nowt and then start gentle cycling -

    I'm sure I cycled with mine after a few weeks and was Ok - it was when I tried to do anything that included weight or stretching that I did more bamage.

    And whatever you do if you can feel it - stop!
    Be happy, communicate happiness.
  • gettrickygettricky Posts: 103
    Thanks for the advice, been resting it, seems slightly less painful when I breath, sneezing doeesn't help and nor does sleeping, but fingers crossed I can get out riding SOON.

    Would happen just as the weahter gets better..

    Pitch Pro 2009
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I tore the cartlidge between my lower right side ribs a few years back (I would love to say I did it fighting a croc, but the truth is I was pis$ed, tried to kick a plastic bottle in the street and went ar$e over censored ).

    Bloody killed, and for several weeks!
  • gettrickygettricky Posts: 103
    I'm into the 4th week now, its still sore. Not so much when I breath, but if I touch it, in bed or moving around.

    I'm getting pretty nervous about the Mega now, I've only been on a few blackruns in Wales and have just over a month to train to get cardio fitness and skills/experience to do the Mega. YIKES! :roll:

    Pitch Pro 2009
  • blister pusblister pus Posts: 5,780
    3 weeks ago yesterday I did left side intercostal muscles and i managed a slow ride and a couple of miles yesterday for the first time and it held up well-ish. However this morning is a different story. I really wouldn't rush anything, it'll be ready when it's ready, expect 4 - 5 weeks for minimum - no feel recovery - add a little longer for a fracture.
  • trekheadtrekhead Posts: 626
    I fractured my shoulder and broke two ribs six weeks ago, yesterday. The shoulder is still hurting but the ribs only hurt when I`m stretching.

    I went for a `gentle` ride one week after it happened. I thought I`d be ok if I took it easy. Well the pain made me feel sick!

    I`ve broken loads over the years, arms, legs, hands, feet, wrists and ankles but there ain`t nothing like busted ribs.

    Hope your starting to feel well again


    ole ginger b*ll*cks / the ginger ninja
  • gettrickygettricky Posts: 103
    Thanks for feedback guys.

    It does hurt less now gettng to 5 week mark, difficult to know if its healed enough to start riding again or whether shock from obsorbing bumps/jumps could make it worse or take it backward.

    I wouldnt' mind if it wasn't getting so nerve wrackingly close to the mega :)

    Pitch Pro 2009
  • blister pusblister pus Posts: 5,780
    Going off my own experimenting with getting back on a bike and seeing how it holds up I'd say leave it as long as possible if you are still aching, or feeling it lying down in bed. You'll probably hold up fine while riding, maybe even feel great while the endorphins are kicking in, but your rib cage is still working over time and muscles are being stretched in all directions, you'll feel it big time the day after and I got the feeling I was hindering recovery. I think you need to get to a point of almost complete recovery before you can get away with your regular routine. It really isn't something you can 'work off'.
  • gettrickygettricky Posts: 103
    Weirdly as expected on the 6th week it seemed to stop hurting almost over night. Bazaar.

    Been riding for couple of weeks now, all good. Did Brechfa this weekend and was good as gold, although I was a bit timid after a few falls. :)

    Thanks for advice all.

    Pitch Pro 2009
  • blister pusblister pus Posts: 5,780
    Just don't screw up like i did the other day. Got carried away doing gentle upper body weights on a flat bench and very foolishly pulled myself upright still holding the weights and felt every rib muscle start to tear again.

    Needless to say I dropped the weights when i felt things give but it's set me back 10 -14 days. 8)
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