How long do bruised ribs last?

Ah, ribs. Whether you prefer them sauced up and smoked low and slow or in a full rack on display at your local Hooters, they are undeniably delicious. However, the last thing any of us want is to bruise our precious ribcage.

So what happens when we do take a hit to the ribs? How long does it take for those bruises to heal? And can we still eat BBQ while we wait? Let’s get into it.

What Causes Bruised Ribs?

There are many ways one could end up with bruised ribs. Perhaps you took an unfortunate spill on the basketball court or got into a brawl at your favorite dive bar. Or maybe your big brother found out that you put his limited edition vinyl record through the dishwasher back in ’98 and decided to give you some payback (not speaking from personal experience).

Regardless of how it happened, rib bruises occur when there is blunt force trauma to the chest area – which leads me nicely onto my next point…

The Anatomy Of Ribs

Before diving further into how long it takes for ribs to heal when they’re busted up, let’s recap what makes up our bony friends’ anatomy (in layman’s terms).

  • Our rib cage consists of twelve pairs of curved bones responsible for protecting vital organs such as lungs and heart.
  • Rib bones are connected to both vertebrae (spine) and sternum (breastbone).
  • In addition, muscles between each pair help keep everything snugly intact reducing movement risks that could lead accidents causing damage like bruising.

With all nestled closely together like this inside our torso region where no lack joint space compared say legs enable maximum protection round-the-clock except potential injury from hiccup fits not included!

Symptoms Of Bruised Ribs

You may not have trouble breathing — that would signal something more serious, like a fractured rib — but you will likely experience pain near the area of the bruise. The pain may also coincide with swelling or tenderness. You can also expect some colorful discoloration to appear; however, if you have noticed blue and yellow from blood pooling up beneath skin take time out for recovery ASAP — resting is key here!

Regardless of underlying problem always see medical provider in case signs indicate bigger risks.


The treatment plan for your damaged ribs probably won’t come as a surprise – bed rest! Exactly how long though? Well, it depends on several factors such as age, overall health status/ activity habits like smoking drinking etc., severity of injury sustained after assessment by healthcare providers those initial timelines may vary.

Assuming though that not needing any medication interventions just healing period itself followed these simple tips until fully recovered:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Apply ice packs periodically throughout day using 1 hour intervals speeding process recovery along.
  • Avoid strenuous activities such as deep breathing or lifting heavy objects (why strain yourself when Netflix has all seasons Game Of Thrones).
  • Light stretching & gentle movement exercises should begin slowly once muscles start recovering improving breathing capacity while reducing potential muscle stiffness.

These easy tips should help mitigate the worst symptoms while supporting your body’s necessary healing process effortlessly.

On top of this however nutritionists also recommend incorporating foods rich in calcium containing minerals Vitamin D which aid bone tissue repair (broccoli and spinach needed me comin’ through!) Consuming these allows repairing mechanisms to accelerate increasing recouperation times significantly so make sure they’re part daily meal intake ASAP!

How Long Do Bruised Ribs Last?

Now onto what we’ve been waiting for: how long do these things take to heal already?! As mentioned earlier duration varies person specific depending upon multiple factors including age, lifestyle patterns previously talked about, and injury intensity experienced.

However, on average you can expect the majority of the pain from your bruised ribs to start subsiding within 2-4 weeks. The smaller bruises mend sooner (typically around 7 days), but larger more severe ones may take up to 6 weeks’ recovery! Most importantly pushing yourself too hard during initial healing stages could undo good progress made worsening situation especially in older person groups at-risk diseases linked their physiology (cough cough that one’s referring back aforementioned dietary advice).

Can I Still Eat Ribs While Healing?

As much as it pains me to say this – no, please don’t lift that slab of ribs just yet. While resting period try avoid foods ‘blameless suspects’ when doing bodily harm including spicy or fried options like hot wings chips burgers etc., since they increase potential inflammation causing otherwise-neutral injuries turn into bigger problem than intended often seriously sidelines even professional athletes!

Despite not being afforded luxury those racks for a while though genuine rib enthusiasts will know once healed there’s nothing quite as satisfying devouring them alongside some cold beer & company bragging about ability survive silly accidents here and there (although maybe let’s be more careful with our brother’s beloved record collections going forward).

Until then however opt for healthy transformative alternatives like freshly juiced drinks (beets carrots mixed OMG!) lean protein — think fish farm raised pork chicken turkey seeds walnuts nuts walnut high energy snacks pretty much anything enabling body go through deep process repair tissue naturally provide energy overcoming biggest hurdles without exerting excessive physical demands recovering structures damaged -> who knows might also pick up new unusual dish tasting buds haven’t detected before!