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How long to recover to riding after bruised & separated ribs?

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  • How long to recover to riding after bruised & separated ribs?

    So I let my bad habits/reactions get the best of me and came off onto an oxer. Think full on flip, landing on the front rail on the right side of my rib cage just outside/below my lovely lady lumps (thanks Fergie).

    3 bruised ribs, the middle one separated to some degree.

    I got back on and finished that ride (sheer ego and adrenaline), and then I rode the following 2 days, using 800mg of ibuprofen and having some significant pain but able to function. Then I took a day off. The day after, I was unable to use my torso and arms as needed on that side - crippling pain. Even with ibuprofen. Wrapping/compression makes things worse (due to aforementioned lady lumps).

    Why is it worse now? What's different between day 1 & 2 and now? Next doctor appt is Friday (earliest I could get in with the holidays).

    Anyone else had this injury? How long did it take you to recover to functionally able to ride? I, of course, have a clinic in 2 weeks, so I'm eager to force the issue and ride.

  • #2
    Speaking from experience the 3rd to 5th day are the worst. I never ever had mine wrapped since there was fear of pneumonia if you don t take full breaths hot showers slow stretches don t be stupid and over due it.....Surpass helps and be careful not to over dose the pain killers..


    • #3
      the goal is to not get hurt while you are hurt

      The problem with riding while you're not 100% is that you can really get hurt. Your reaction time is down and though we all pretend it isn't, this is a dangerous game. Can you adrenaline through it? Maybe, but why? Doctor's note to the clinic should refund $ if you're still NQR. Everyone heals differently so you could be better sooner, but don't push it just to prove you can.


      • #4
        I did this a while back. Rode the day after, lightly, then the 3rd day was excruciating - shortness of breath, searing pain.

        It was still pretty sore for about a month - sore to do sitting trot, sore to canter - and the worst was actually turning over in bed. That was about 2 months of waking me up.

        It was about a full 3 months before I was fully functional with only occasional twinges.

        You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


        • Original Poster

          JBRP - thanks for the info. I have been able to totally avoid serious, prescription meds for this so far, but I will keep up with the hot showers and stretching.

          Hidden Acres - you are very correct, and I certainly do not want to make this worse. I have no qualms about bowing out from the clinic and auditing if I don't feel like I'm strong enough to be safe.

          Blugal - sounds almost exactly like my injury so far. Have not slept well since it happened, as every time I roll over in my sleep, it wakes me up, too.

          Thanks everyone for all the info! I'm very sad I cannot "magic-poof" this one away, guess it's going to be no fun for a while.


          • #6
            I haven't had separated ribs, but have broken 2. I was able to keep off of meds also, except ibuprofen, but didn't ride for a month. Couldn't take the jarring movement. Seriously considered trading for a gaited horse

            Anyway, I feel for ya! Let me know if you're still going to the clinic. NOT that I would get your spot, just to look for you on the sidelines instead of in the saddle
            "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George


            • #7
              I'm into my fourth week of recovering from a couple of bruised ribs. I've actually not found it too painful to ride other than sitting the trot. But sleeping, and more to the point, getting up out of bed, has been a learning experience.

              I expect at least another month of pain before it's all over.


              • #8
                I've broken ribs a few different times. I was back in the saddle the next day, then took about a week off. I was back to teaching lessons on my horse as soon as I could lift the saddle onto his very tall back. It was about a month before I could swing a polo mallet again.

                Should I have done things that quickly? Undoubtedly no. However, I was late teens/early twenties each time, have an absurdly high pain tolerance and am rather stubborn.

                The worst by far was lying down or getting up off soft surfaces like beds and couches. Riding honestly didn't hurt all that badly. I was, however, on my old gelding who was completely nuts, but I did trust him to take care of me. I'd be a little slower to climb on my current horse with that kind of injury.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by candysgirl View Post
                  The worst by far was lying down or getting up off soft surfaces like beds and couches.
                  Agree that's bad but I'll go you one better: falling asleep in a comfortable position and then moving around while you are asleep only to be awoken by a searing pain where you moved the bruised ribs.

                  Holy hell did that hurt this morning.


                  • #10
                    I had a similar injury, got double-barreled hand-walking, and I was pretty uncomfortable for ~1 month. Had trouble raising my arms, breathing deeply, sleeping, really basic stuff. For me, riding wasn't the worst, I think I was back after ~2 weeks or so, but the uncomfortable sleeping lasted 3x that.


                    • Original Poster

                      All good stuff to know, thanks everyone! Have not ridden in 4 days, going to give it a shot today. And after, a nap since I'm having the problems sleeping you all mention.

                      Toadie's Mom - I'm going to attempt to ride in the clinic unless I get to next weekend and just cannot function. Will let you know, though!


                      • #12
                        Was quite a while ago, but I got kicked in the chest. I think that it was about 2 weeks to walking, about a month to full functioning on a horse. I tried to ride before that, and I was so out of balance that my then green horse panicked. I decided to stay off him until I could control my body again.


                        • #13
                          Before vests became manditory, I was schooling an in and out cross country fence. My young mare had never done one of these. I was hesitant and she felt it. She popped the first one, tried to stop, but decided to jump the second. I landed on the anchor post, which held up the log, and bruised three ribs. It was very difficult to take a deep breath. It is important to take 5 minutes, several times every day, to do deep breathing exercises.

                          Another time, I slipped while pushing a wheelbarrow up an incline and hit my sternum on it. I found out a week later that I had fractured my sternum. When I hit the wheelbarrow, the pain was terrible. Something popped so loudly in the middle of the night that it woke up my DH and me. Apparently, a rib had been dislocated when I broke my sternum. The loud popping was the rib popping back in place. It hurt like the dickens when it happened, but felt much better afterward.

                          My Doctor told me to always be careful with broken or cracked ribs, because they could puncture a lung. He is the one who told me about the deep breathing exercises. He was worried that I might come down with pneumonia.

                          I was not able to do trot work for quite awhile. Please take care of yourself. I hope that you will feel better soon.
                          When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!