Fall down the stairs..

by Jen
(USA)

This morning I fell down the stairs.. It happened pretty fast so I don't remember any of it but as soon as I realized what was happening I felt a sharp pain like by the sternum. All day everything I've done has hurt. It hurts to breath, I have a really hard time buttoning up my pants, bending over to pick anything up is rather difficult. But is all I know it that when I fell the only things that touched the ground were my arms, back, legs, and butt.

Hello Jen,
One of two things has probably happened: you've either cracked a rib (does taking in a deep breath hurt?) or injured the joint between the rib and the sternum.
The cracked rib, assuming it's an undisplaced fracture, will heal in about a month, with no treatment. Grin and bear it. Use ice, and don't do the things that cause pain. It's likely to be quite painful for a couple weeks.

An injured costo-sternal joint is more difficult, and also often has a corresponding pain in the midback. It can lead to a distressing condition called Tietzes syndrome ...

You need to use your common sense. If your gut feeling is that you've had a serious injury then it's probably best to get an X-ray. If not, use alternating ice and heat and be careful for a couple days and see what happens.

If the pain continues, don't leave it. Tietze's syndrome can be murder.

Let us know how you get on.

Dr B

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