Stress fractures to the ribs occur in rowers, golfer, canoeists, lacrosse players and baseball pitchers. They are more common in sports involving an element of trunk rotation with scapula movement across the rib cage.
A stress fracture is described as an overload to the bone caused by repetitive loading due to a particular movement. Any load on the bone will create a stress in the bone. However, given enough recovery time the bone heals and ends up stronger. This is known as Wolfe’s law. But, if the bone load is too high or too frequent, then the bone does not repair quickly enough, a stress response occurs and a fracture follows.
In rowing, the repetitive loading is created by a number of factors. Muscles such as the serratus anterior and abdominals that directly attach to the ribs can lead to loading on the ribcage due to contraction. Bad rowing technique, perhaps caused by poor hip flexibility, which then requires an excessive compensatory thoracic rotation, may then lead to rib breakdown.
Other causes include equipment issues such as the oar type (lighter carbon oars increase rib loading), bigger boats with more drag and position in the boat (bow rowers have less incidence due to lower stroke rate and force). Rib cross section and density also influence the chance of stress fractures, and women have a higher chance due to greater likelihood of bone density issues. Finally, training variables such as volume, intensity, type of loading and off water training can also be factors in stress fracture development.
The signs and symptoms are usually straight forward. These include generalised rib pain with a focused spot of tenderness, pain rolling onto the ribs whilst sleeping and pain with deep breathing. They can be confirmed with bone scan (black spot) and/or MRI (white spot).
Unfortunately for the rower, the immediate management of the injury involves rest. Usually 4-6 weeks away from rowing will be enough to allow some bone healing and this is followed by a progressive increase in rowing load over another 4 weeks before the athlete is back to full training.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Additional Topics: Chiropractic and Athletic Performance
Chiropractic care is a popular, alternative treatment option which focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of injuries and/or conditions associated to the musculoskeletal and nervous system, primarily the spine. Many athletes, and civilians alike, seek chiropractic care to restore their natural health and wellness, however, chiropractic has been demonstrated to benefit athletes by increasing their athletic performance.
.video-containerposition: relative; padding-bottom: 63%; padding-top: 35px; height: 0; overflow: hidden;.video-container iframeposition: absolute; top:0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; border: none; max-width:100%!important;
The information herein on "Sports Injuries: Stress Fractures to the Ribs" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez DC or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card