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Rib Fracture: The Best Braces for Rib Fractures and Bruised Ribs

The Best Brace for Broken Ribs and other Rib InjuriesA rib fracture is a common injury which consists of a crack or break in one of the bones of the rib cage. A rip in the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the backbone can also be considered a rib fracture. The most frequent source of rib fractures is direct trauma occurring to the ribcage. This can happen as a car accident or physical impact during sports, but they can also be the result of prolonged and severe coughing.

Rib fractures cause a great deal of pain, however many times they will not do major damage if they are merely cracked. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give your ribs a rest because you take around 23,000 breaths a day! One of the best ways for pain relief is to use a rib fracture brace.

Name Picture Price Best Feature Our rating Best Price
BraceAbility Broken Rib Brace $$ Best Rib Brace for Men 9.7/10 See Current Price
BraceAbility Rib Injury Binder Belt $ Best Rib Brace for Women 9.5710 See Current Price
Everyday Medical Broken Rib Brace $ We love the soft bamboo material 9.5/10 See Current Price
JNTAR Back Brace and Rib Stabilizer $ Great for Multiple Rib Fractures 9.4/10 See Current Price
Oppo Medical Elastic Rib Belt $ Easy to put on and off for anyone that lives alone 9.2/10 See Current Price

How to Treat Rib Fractures?

Rib FractureRib fractures will normally heal on their own within one to two months. They are often not treated with surgery unless a rib has punctured an organ, however, sufficient pain regulation is necessary. Pain relievers will be administered in order to mitigate some of the agony. Advil or other medication is recommended for pain relief. A hot pack can help with muscle spasms and aches. Bracing is recommended to help with pain and ability to move. Conservative care such as physical therapy is also recommended to help with preventing pneumonia and loss of muscle during this time.

What to do if you have a Rib Fracture or Bruised Ribs

If a rib fracture occurs, it is imperative to avoid lifting or any other types of heavy exercise. Purchasing a brace will reduce the pain that will occur when sneezing, coughing, and walking. We recommend staying active to help keep your lungs healthy and prevent fluid build up.

  • Performing deep breathing will allow you to avoid pneumonia and maintain lung health. Lung infections are a common occurrence associated with rib fractures.
  • The simplest answer is that you have to keep moving and try to decrease the pain, becoming sedentary can cause serious issues.

Exercises to do for Broken Ribs

The best exercises to do after broke ribs are around staying active and maintaining proper breathing. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

This exercise focus on using all of your available lung capacity and helps prevent pneumonia. Start diaphragmatic breathing by sitting upright with one hand resting on your chest and one hand resting on your belly. Inhale slowly while focusing on pushing out the hand on your belly while the hand on your chest moves very little. Exhale by by tightening your abdominals and repeat.

Lower Chest Expansions

This is similar to to diaphragmatic breathing but the focus is now on the sides of the ribcage. Starting by sitting upright and placing both hands on your side. As you slowly inhale, try to push your hands out sideways as your lungs fill. Try to hold for 4-7 seconds and then exhale.

Doorway Stretch

doorway stretch

The exercise opens up the chest and stretches the muscles that attach on the front of the ribcage. To do the doorway stretch, start by standing in a door frame with your arms on the sides. While keeping your spine upright, step through the door with your arms still on the frame. This will stretch out the front chest muscles. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Open the Book Trunk Rotations

The focus on this exercise to promote mobility and rotation through the trunk and ribs. Start by lying one side with your hips and knees bent to a comfortable position. Next, rotate your top arm up over to touch it to the floor as your rotate your spine. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Walking

Walking is one of the best activities that you can do for fractures ribs. Try and go for at least 10-15 minutes or longer. This does a few beneficial things for you including increases blood flow through the lungs and ribs, help stretch out the cartilage in the rib cage, and helps encourage deep breaths with exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions After Broken Ribs

Do I need to get X-rays for fractured ribs?

It becomes necessary to get x-rays if you are having a difficult time breathing or feel like you can’t get air into the lungs. Even if you have broken ribs there is not much anyone is going to do for you other then give you a brace and pain medication. Unless you simply have to know if your ribs are broken, save your $300-500 dollars for a trip the ER or doctors office.

How long before broken ribs heal?

Ribs, like most bone fractures, will take between 6-8 weeks to fully heal. Ribs are a little different in that they are always moving during breathing. This can slow down the healing a little. Pain levels will be most severe the first 2 weeks after and slowly begin to subside by 4-6 weeks.

Can I do more damage to broken ribs by wearing a brace?

No, a rib brace is add comfort and support. One important tip, don’t tighten the rib brace too tight to where you can’t get a deep breath. The main concern regarding rib fractures is developing pneumonia because you are only taking shallow breaths.

Whats the best position to sleep in with broke rubs?

Sleeping in a reclinerSleeping with a rib fracture is simply tough. The first few weeks you are most likely going to get the most sleep by sleeping in a recliner. This will help take the pressure off your ribs. You can also try adding a mattress topper and use multiple pillows underneath you and your back to get comfortable.

Can you drive with broken ribs?

Absolutely but there are few things to consider. First, you should not drive if you are using narcotic pain medication. Second, it can be painful to hold the top of the steering wheel so we recommend holding the bottom. Finally, to make it more comfortable try putting a lumbar support behind your back. This adds a little bit more comfort.

How to Wear a Rib Belt for Broken Ribs

Do you have pain in the front of the knee? Check out our reviews of the best braces for patellofemoral pain syndrome

The Best Braces and Supports for Rib Fractures

BraceAbility Broken Rib Brace

Summary:

Pros: This brace has been clinically proven to protect and treat bruised or fractured ribs. It is also very lightweight in order to preserve comfort and allow the wearer to breathe freely. It is also hook-compatible, making it easily adjustable to the desired amount of compression and support.

Cons: It is a better fit for larger frames, however, it may slide downwards on small ones.

Braceability Rib Fracture Brace

Click on the image for more information

Brace Ability Rib Injury Binder Belt

Summary:

Pros: This brace has various sizes allowing it to fit a wide range of rib cage circumferences.  It provides optimal support for the rib cage, which allows it to treat and protect fractured or broken ribs. It uses bamboo fiber technology, which increases blood circulation, stimulating a speedy recovery time. The bamboo material also allows for the brace to absorb perspiration even better than cotton does. The softness of the bamboo fibers makes this product comfortable for usage on bare skin and for longer periods of time.

Cons: No serious cons, may not be enough support for severe fractures

BraceAbility Female Rib Fracture Brace

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Everyday Medical Broken Rib Brace

Summary:

Pros: This product is constructed out of flannel-lined foam, providing ultimate comfort and protection. It has been clinically proven to assist in the healing process of bruised or fractured ribs. The light, low-profile design allows optimal comfort and breathability. The soft padding on the brace is Velcro compatible so the medical-grade Velcro strap is easily adjustable in order to achieve the desired amount of compression and support. It also has a curved cutout to fit snugly under a woman’s breasts.

Cons: This brace may not fit on smaller frames.

Everyday Medical Broken Brace

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JNTAR Back Brace Posture Corrector

Summary:

Pros: The brace can be adjusted based on the frame size of each individual and also comes in a wide variety of sizes. It has a very simple design while having a high level of therapeutic effectiveness. The breathable bandaging it comes equipped with allows for a guarantee of high levels of comfort. It is also discreet, almost invisible under clothing.

Cons: No serious cons, is a full size brace that you shouldn’t get if you don’t need that size cause it could be restrictive.

JNTAR Posture Braces

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Oppo Medical Mens Elastic Rib Belt

Summary: 

Pros: This product consists of a combination of elastic and soft nylon bonded to 1/4 inch foam, providing high amounts of comfort and an even distribution of pressure. Its hook-and-loop closure allows for an easy application and removal process.

Cons: The sizing stated may be a few inches off, measure carefully.

Oppo Medical Rib Brace

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.