Upon further research, comparing my symptoms to various reports on forums I believe I have a separated rib. A separated rib is tearing away from the cartilage that attaches the rib to the breastbone.
My symptoms pretty much matched up with this description:
-Ribs do not break skin
-Ribs show no sign of bruising
-Usually accompanied by a “pop” sound
-Initial pain level/duration varies based on seriousness/pain tolerance. Max unbearable pain usually 30-60 seconds
-At time of injury, may have noticeable space between ribs – usually slide somewhat back into place after a night of rest on the back
It has been 4 days since the initial injury and I am still in moderate discomfort and the rib is still “slipping” or “popping” out of place at random movements, although I notice that it is usually a twisting motion that triggers it and not a bending motion. For example I can tie my shoes without any pain but driving still makes me feel like the rib wants to move out of place.
I’m getting a bit annoyed at the injury because I thought I would be further along the road to recovery but it looks like I have to be a more …patient. Everything I have been researching is pointing at 6 weeks as the magic number for recovery but at week 1 that seems awfully far away.
Many places recommended a Rib Belt to stabilize the rib; they are priced anywhere from $13 – $25 on average. I thought about it for a brief second before deciding that was a little overkill when I could use my trusty ace bandage wrap instead.
Funny enough the rib is a little more tender today than a few days ago, I’m thinking it’s because the swelling is coming down. I take it as a good sign because it means the real healing can start now, if I’m careful and don’t have the rib popping out! It makes me nervous every time the rib moves around because I can only think that every time it moves from where it is supposed to be it’s making the area where it rests a little bigger and giving the rib more room to escape.
Gotta be patient, gotta be careful.
Click here to see a timeline of my posts for when I was dealing with a separated rib, or costochondral separation