How Long Does It Take To Heal Flared Ribs? Expert Insights & Recovery Timeline

how long does it take to fix flared ribs

Are you dealing with the discomfort of flared ribs? Perhaps you’ve recently experienced an injury or participated in rigorous physical activity that has left you wondering about the healing process. Flared ribs can be both painful and inconvenient, affecting your everyday activities and quality of life. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the topic and explore how long it typically takes for flared ribs to heal. By gaining insights into the recovery timeline, you’ll be better equipped to manage your expectations and take the necessary steps toward a full and speedy recovery. Let’s dive in and discover what you need to know about healing flared ribs.

How Long Does It Take To Heal Flared Ribs?

Flared ribs typically take several weeks to months to heal. The healing time depends on the severity of the injury and individual healing capacity.

During the initial phase of healing, which lasts around two to four weeks, the focus is on reducing pain and inflammation. Resting the affected area is crucial for promoting healing and preventing further irritation.

To alleviate pain and inflammation, ice packs can be applied to the injured area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen or NSAIDs can also be taken as directed.

As the pain and inflammation subside, gentle exercises and stretching can be gradually introduced. Physical therapy or guided exercises may be recommended to improve flexibility and restore the normal range of motion.

It’s important to remember that healing times can vary for each individual. Seeking medical attention is recommended for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific situation.

Symptoms Of Flared Ribs

The symptoms of flared ribs can vary from person to person, but here are some common signs to watch out for:

1. Pain: 

Flared ribs typically cause sharp or throbbing pain in the affected area. The pain may worsen with movement, deep breathing, coughing, or sneezing. It can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the injury.

2. Tenderness: 

The area around the flared ribs may be sensitive to touch. Pressing on the affected ribs or applying pressure can elicit pain or discomfort.

3. Swelling: 

Inflammation can occur around the injured ribs, leading to localized swelling or a noticeable bulge in the affected area.

4. Difficulty Breathing: 

Flared ribs can make it challenging to take deep breaths, as the expansion of the ribcage can cause pain. This can result in shallow breathing or a feeling of breathlessness.

5. Bruising: 

In some cases, flared ribs may cause bruising or discoloration around the injured area. This can be due to blood vessels being damaged during the injury.

6. Stiffness: 

The intercostal muscles, which are located between the ribs, may become stiff or tight. This can limit your range of motion and make certain movements uncomfortable.

7. Crepitus: 

In severe cases, you may feel or hear a grating or popping sensation when moving the affected ribs. This is known as crepitus and can indicate more significant damage to the ribcage.

If you experience any of these symptoms or suspect flared ribs, it’s important to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Surgical Interventions

Surgical interventions are generally not the first line of treatment for flared ribs, as most cases can heal through non-surgical methods. However, in rare instances or severe cases where conservative treatments have been ineffective, surgical options may be considered. Here are a few surgical interventions that may be utilized:

Rib Fixation: This surgical procedure involves stabilizing the flared ribs using plates, screws, or wires. The surgical hardware is used to reposition and secure the ribs in their proper alignment, allowing for better healing.

Rib Resection: In cases where there is significant damage or if the flared ribs are causing compression on surrounding organs, a portion of the affected rib(s) may be surgically removed. This procedure aims to alleviate symptoms and improve overall function.

Muscle Repair: If the intercostal muscles between the ribs are severely torn or detached, surgical repair may be necessary. The surgeon can reattach the muscles to their proper location and reinforce them to promote healing and stability.

Thoracoscopy: Thoracoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that involves making small incisions and using a tiny camera (endoscope) to visualize and access the affected area. This procedure allows the surgeon to assess the damage and perform specific repairs or remove any loose fragments.

It’s important to note that surgical interventions for flared ribs are relatively uncommon and are typically reserved for severe cases or when conservative treatments have failed. The decision for surgery will depend on various factors, including the severity of the injury, the individual’s overall health, and the recommendation of the healthcare professionals involved in the care. It’s always best to consult with a specialist who can assess your specific condition and provide appropriate guidance on the most suitable treatment approach.

How Can You Quickly Treat Flared Ribs?

To help heal flared ribs more quickly, you can consider the following points:

  1. Rest: Giving your body enough rest is crucial for the healing process. Avoid activities that strain the affected area and try to minimize movements that aggravate the pain.
  2. Pain Management: Use over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs, as directed by your healthcare professional. Pain relief can help you stay comfortable and promote healing.
  3. Ice Packs: Applying ice packs to the injured area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day, can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ensure you wrap the ice pack in a cloth or towel to protect your skin
  4. Heat Therapy: After the initial phase of healing, you can introduce heat therapy to the affected area. Applying a warm compress or using a heating pad on low settings can help relax the muscles and improve blood circulation, aiding in the healing process.
  5. Gentle Exercises and Stretching: As pain and inflammation subside, gradually introduce gentle exercises and stretching to improve flexibility and prevent stiffness. Consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist for guidance on appropriate exercises for your specific condition.
  6. Physical Therapy: Consider seeking professional help from a physical therapist who can provide targeted exercises and therapies to accelerate healing, improve posture, and restore range of motion.
  7. Proper Breathing Techniques: Practice deep breathing exercises to help expand the ribcage and promote lung function. This can prevent shallow breathing, which may cause additional discomfort.
  8. Good Posture: Maintain good posture to alleviate strain on the ribcage. Sit and stand upright, and use supportive pillows or cushions when necessary.

Remember, healing times can vary, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. They can provide appropriate recommendations based on the severity of your injury and your individual needs.


Flared ribs can be a bothersome condition that affects individuals’ posture, comfort, and quality of life. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for effective management. Whether through non-surgical interventions or surgical procedures, healthcare professionals can provide guidance and support in addressing flared ribs. By following a comprehensive treatment plan and maintaining a proactive approach, individuals can experience relief and improved chest alignment. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional to receive a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment for your specific needs.


What causes flared ribs? 

Flared ribs are typically caused by an injury or trauma to the chest area, such as a fall, sports-related impact, or car accident. The injury leads to the stretching or tearing of the intercostal muscles, which causes the ribs to flare outwards.

How do I know if I have flared ribs or a different rib injury? 

Flared ribs can cause sharp pain in the affected area, tenderness, swelling, difficulty breathing deeply, and possible bruising. However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis, as other conditions like rib fractures or muscle strains can have similar symptoms.

Can be flared ribs heal on their own? 

In most cases, flared ribs can heal on their own with proper rest and conservative treatments. It may take several weeks to months for complete healing, depending on the severity of the injury.

Douglas Underwood

Douglas Underwood is a freelance news writer who specializes in writing about current events and politics. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and has been working as a journalist for the past five years. He is an avid reader and loves spending his free time exploring new places.