Bruised ribs cause pain whenever the person takes a breath. There may also be swelling around the injury, and the area is often tender to touch. Bruised ribs are often caused by a strong impact directly to the rib cage.
The most common symptom of a bruised rib is pain when breathing in. This sometimes forces the person to take quick or shallow breaths in order to avoid pain. If possible, a person with bruised ribs should try to breathe as deeply as normal to reduce the chances of a chest infection. Pain relief medication is often recommended as this allows the person to breathe more normally.
The symptoms of a bruised and broken rib are often similar. It is not possible to splint rib bones, so both bruised and broken ribs can be treated at home unless the injury is severe.
A person who suspects that they have damaged their ribs should see a doctor if the pain continues to worsen or if they are finding it difficult to breathe. The injured person should also visit a doctor if they develop a high temperature.
Treatment for a bruised rib usually involves pain-relief medication and rest. Icing the affected area can also reduce swelling.