Bruised sternum is usually caused by a blow on the chest while playing, or due to an accident, particularly a car driver. Before discussing bruised sternum, let us know what sternum is, and what its importance is in human body. Sternum is an elongated flat bone that you feel in the middle of chest. Sternum is also called breast bone. The average length of sternum is 17 cm. The upper end of the sternum supports the clavicle (Collar bone). The cartilage of first seven ribs is attached to the margins of sternum.
What Is Sternum Or Breast Bone?
Sternum bone is made of three parts; the top portion is called manubrium, the first two ribs are connected to this part. Then comes the central part or the body of the sternum, the third rib to seventh rib is attached to the body of sternum. The end part of the sternum is called xiphoid process. It is the smallest of all the three parts of sternum. It is thin and elongated; the xiphiod process is cartilaginous in youth after some years it becomes rigid bony structure.
Along with ribs, the sternum forms a bony cage which protects vital organs of the chest such as heart, lungs, and major blood vessels. The breast bone becomes a shield in front part of the chest. A severe blow to the sternum can cause fracture or bruised sternum.
Bruised sternum is a common injury among drivers who do not wear seat belts while driving. It is also common with people playing certain sports such as foot ball, cricket where the chest can get hurt with blunt force, or in people who are not wearing protective chest shield.
Symptoms Of Bruised Breast Bone
Depending on the severity of the injury, sternum pain can be mild to severe. You can bruise your sternum with violent and forceful coughing. Bruised sternum is common in cigarette smokers. Even a simple fall can cause bruising if a blunt object collides with chest.
After knowing the causes of bruised sternum, it is important to know what are the signs and symptoms that a person experiences when he is hit by an external force or a blow on his chest, that results in bruised sternum.
- Tenderness and pain on the breast bone.
- Pain while laughing, coughing.
- Moving his hands up and down.
- Pain in the breast bone while getting up from the bed.
- Pain in the middle of the chest while deep breathing.
- It takes 3 to 4 weeks for a bruised sternum to heal.
In order to get relief from pain, many people take short breaths which may not be good for their general health.
How To Treat A Bruised Sternum?
Pain in the chest immediately after an injury can be indicative of bruised sternum; it is necessary to consult your doctor to get accurate diagnosis.
- Before starting the treatment your doctor may advice you for an X-ray chest to ascertain the damage to the sternum and the rib cage.
- After proper examination and evaluation, he may advice the person to take rest and prescribe anti inflammatory and painkiller medication.
- Ice fomentation on the breastbone and hot water fomentation later on is effective home remedy in relieving pain.
- Breast bone injury generally takes longer time to heal. The time taken to heal is between 4 to 6 weeks. Till that time the person should avoid physical strenuous work.