Bruised ribs resulting from force or trauma may need urgent care, according to Healthline. Patients experiencing difficulty in breathing, worsening pain, shoulder or abdominal pain, or fever and those who cough up bloody mucus need immediate attention, as do those injured by falls or car accidents, NHS Choices states.
Urgent care facilities specialize in treating conditions that are not life-threatening that need faster treatment than a patient can receive by making an appointment with a primary care physician, Mount Sinai Hospital explains. Wherever treatment occurs, the physician may order an X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan to rule out chest infection and collapsed or damaged lung, notes NHS Choices.
Bruised ribs are painful and tender to the touch, as further explained by NHS Choices. Other symptoms include increased pain upon movement, difficulty in breathing deeply and visible bruising of the skin. Swelling may also be present.
After serious injury has been treated or ruled out, bruised ribs often are treated successfully at home, as stated by NHS Choices. Despite the pain, patients should practice deep breathing to fully inflate the lungs, thereby reducing the risk of infection. Over-the-counter pain medications and the application of an ice pack to the injured area help to control pain. Holding a pillow against the chest makes coughing less painful. Tight bandaging and smoking are contraindicated.