Injury to rib cage and or serratus anterior muscles. Treatment?

Patient

Q: Category suggestion. Rib Cage

43 year old male in otherwise excellent health. With my arm raised, I ran sideways into the wall during an indoor soccer game, absorbing the impact at a point due aft of my left nipple and due down from my armpit. That point has light soreness and gives me a sharper pain when I press the serratus anterior muscle into the underlying rib, and I get a very sharp pain when I do a curl or sit-up from a lying position. My breathing is unaffected, although I have an awareness of the soreness when I take a deep breath. I have lifted weights and run since the injury a week ago, but neither seemed to exacerbate or help the injury. Yet, the pain has neither increased nor subsided much.

If I had to guess, I'd say I have bruised the muscle or perhaps injured the tendon of the serratus anterior. However, I understand I may have cracked a rib. I don't think I have broken a rib, because I have done too much activity in the week since that I don't think would have been possible with a broken rib.

Assuming I am right, is there any treatment?
Are my workouts counterproductive?
How long do such injuries commonly take to heal?

Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. Based on your description it seems as though you have sustained a skeletal muscle contusion. This usually resolves without complication by using analgesic medications and applying ice to the area to reduce inflammation. Now if you have a fractured rib, breathing would be quite painful, and you have not indicated that this is the case. We recommend that you refrain from strenuous stretching and exercises while this contusion heals as well as continue with the aforementioned supportive treatments. If you develop difficulty breathing, we recommend that you follow up with your doctor to conduct a chest x ray to elucidate if you have fractured any of your ribs.

AskTheDoctor.com wishes you a speedy recovery.

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