Rehabilitation of injuries to the thorax and
• A rib fracture (broken rib) is common in contact
sports and usually occurs when you have a hard
impact to the chest such as an elbow.
Symptoms of a fractured rib
• Pain and swelling at a particular point in the ribs.
• Pain when you breathe in deeply or when you cough
• Pain at a specific point when someone presses in
over the whole of your rib cage.
Treatment of a Fractured Rib
What can the athlete do?
• Rest is all you can do.
• If it is very severe then you should seek medical
attention to ensure no damage has been done inside
the rib cage.
• If you have a severe fracture of the ribs you would
know about it!
What can a sports injury specialist do?
• There is not much a sports injury specialist can do
except confirm the diagnosis and advise rest.
• A doctor can X-ray the ribs and rule out any internal
Abdominal Muscle Strain or Inflammation
• An abdominal strain is a tear or rupture of part of
the abdominal muscles.
• We look at symptoms and treatment options.
Symptoms of Abdominal Muscle Strain
• Tenderness and inflammation over an area of the
rectus abdominis (usually at the bottom).
• A sudden sharp pain in the abdominal muscles
which would indicate a rupture.
• An increase in pain when the abdominal muscles
are contracted e.g. doing a stomach crunch.
What is Inflammation of the Stomach Muscles?
• It is usually the Rectus abdominus muscle which
is damaged in an abdominal strain but other
muscles in the stomach area (Internal
obliques, External obliques) can be affected.
• Ruptures occur in
weightlifters, throwers, gymnasts, and wrestlers
and other sports which involve fast whole body
movements and changes of direction.
• If the athlete returns to training before the
injury is allowed to heal fully then repeated
injuries may occur.
Treatment of Abdominal Muscle Strain
• Rest until there is no pain.
• Apply cold therapy to help ease pain and swelling.
• See sports injury professional who can advise on
• Anti-inflammatory medication e.g. ibuprofen.
• Use therapeutic ultrasound.
• If you rest as soon as there is sign of injury ,then it
should not take more than a couple of weeks to heal.
• If you have ruptured muscle the healing time will
depend on how bad the strain is.
• A stitch can usually be felt to one side of the
abdomen (more often the right side), around the
area of the lower ribs.
• Most cases of abdominal pain during exercise are
referred to as a 'stitch' or side stitch.
• Stitches are very common, especially in running
• The causes of a stitch may include:
Eating too close to exercise.
Not warming up thoroughly.
Other causes of abdominal pain in athletes
include pain referred from the thoracic spine.
Treatment of Stitch Pain
• In order to relieve stitch pain, try stopping,
leaning forwards and breathing out hard whilst
pressing in to the painful area with your fingers.