If you ever break a rib or two, you will definitely feel some major pain. The pain will be worse when you take a deep breath and you may notice some shortness of breath as well. The break will not completely heal for at least a month or two so you will need to take it easy.

Deep to the ribs are some pretty important structures including your heart and lungs. It is certainly not uncommon to have a bruised lung or lung contusion. Since the lungs have an abundant blood supply, bruising can cause a significant amount of blood loss. Not only that but breathing including moving oxygen from your lungs to your blood and carbon dioxide the other way will also be impaired. This might result in abnormally low breathing ability-a very serious issue.

What’s even worse is that the bruising of the lungs may not be obvious for several hours which means that if you feel ok after your accident, that’s no guarantee that you’ll feel the same way a few hours later. Also, if the chest injury is near the middle of the chest, your heart may have been bruised as well. This can lead to irregular heart beats and even injury to the heart muscle.

Down the road bruising of the lungs increases the risk of getting pneumonia. Why? Because you won’t breathe as deeply and your lungs need to be expanded to avoid infection. Rib belts are no longer used, as they restrict the ability of the lungs to expand well.

If you think you have injured your chest, it would be wise to see your doctor or go to the emergency room for further evaluation.