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Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
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Experience:  7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
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Hi Julia another question for you, today I was lifting my aunt

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Hi Julia another question for you, today I was lifting my aunt in the bathroom she is dead weight so I have to lift her to her wheelchair on to the toilet all day long, today when I was lifting her she started to sit back down on the toilet she was moving sideways & I lifted with one hand under her arm & the other it was more on the rib only slightly, but she gave out a little noise of pain & I heard her rib make a cracking noise. I was scared to death I broke a rib she has osteoporosis she only weights 75lbs you can see all of her ribs. I felt all around her ribs she isn't making any noise my uncle said she would be crying & not able to breathe, I am a worry wart I would like to know if she could have a cracked or broken rib just with lifting her & trying to keep her from falling? She has a habit of going to her knees when I lift her in the bathroom she holds on to the bar, but sometimes she just goes there is no warning as I am cleaning her & pulling up her pants. I am so careful with her, because she is so fragile, and anything upsets me when she cries out in pain. I stop lifting her in her lift chair cause it was making her have pain in the rib area, and the dr. said it was from repetitive lifting so we avoid the lift chair, and I prop her up in her hospital bed with pillows & she has an ottoman. I really appreciate any feedback you can give me, and if she would be in severe pain or would it happen later?<br /><br /> I talk to her Dr. today about the yellow-fluid scalp sore he said it was normal, nothing to worry about, but he told me to go ahead and use the bactroban he said there would be no problem, he is a wound care specialist. He told me to stop the wound be gone & use this bactroban which should aid in the healing.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 3 years ago.

Good evening Beth,

 

Well, theoretically it is possible that your aunt broke her rib because she sounds so frail plus has osteoporosis but, of course, the only way of knowing for sure is to do an x-ray.

 

Now, do I think it is necessary to do an x-ray? The answer is no, I dont think she really needs to have it done because even if there is a broken rib vs. sprained cartilage vs. pulled muscle (these are additional possibilities), the treatment would be the same and includes pain management with pain medications.

 

Certain symptoms can kind of give you an idea if there is a broken rib such as if she has more pain when she coughs or sneezes or turns. She would probably moan with pain while attempting to turn or after sneezing/coughing. But again, there is no special treatment for a cracked rib. If you do notice that she is in more pain, call her doctor and ask for some pain medications. Also, try putting a pillow under her arm, kind of around her ribcage. This will minimize how much her chest wall moves and will help with pain during movements.

 

Please let me know if you have other questions. I will be on the computer for a bit longer and then again tomorrow.

If you are satisfied with the answer, please click 'Accept' button.

 

Julia

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Well she doesn't seem to be in any pain at all right now, she is breathing normal 14 breaths a minute, pulse is 67. She isn't crying, & I keep feeling around her rib area, and she doesn't seem bothered. Would she feel pain with me touching around that area & not be able to breathe normally or would this happen gradually?
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 3 years ago.

Well, those are good signs. Chances that she broke her rib and has no pain with feeling around that area or no pain upon moving are very small. Usually there is significant amount of pain present. There is also a possibility that the pain can come on gradually over the next week or so, but it is unlikely. Just watch her for any signs of discomfort or bruising in that area. If no changes in the next week, we can say with good certainty that there is no fracture.

 

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I thought maybe the cartilage may have cracked, but there was a definite cracking noise & than a moan from her. It was just a slight push to that area to keep her steady that is why it surprised me it made a crack noise.
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 3 years ago.

It is possible that the cartilage simply moved under your hand making that noise. Because she is so thin and has no fat padding, you were able to hear/feel the crack. Cartilage cannot crack with such light pressure as it is rather soft tissue but ribs can since they are bone. So it is possible that due to the pressure onto her thin frame, her rib slipped in your hand causing the immediate pain (thus moan) and the noise you heard.

I honestly wouldn't worry about it unless she starts to become more uncomfortable, if she begins to moan with every movement, etc. What you can do today is put an ice pack on the area for about 10 minutes (wrap ice pack in paper towel and put paper towel against the skin). Ice will decrease any kind of inflammation and may help in the long run.

Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience: 7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
Julia Kizhner and 8 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Julia I hate to be a pain I am confused about your paragraph( It is possible that the cartilage simply moved under your hand making that noise. Because she is so thin and has no fat padding, you were able to hear/feel the crack. Cartilage cannot crack with such light pressure as it is rather soft tissue but ribs can since they are bone. So it is possible that due to the pressure onto her thin frame, her rib slipped in your hand causing the immediate pain (thus moan) and the noise you heard.) You said the cartilage simply could have moved under my hand making that noise but then you said cartilage couldn't crack, it can make a cracking noise, but it doesn't actually crack like break is that what you meant? What does her rib could have slipped causing pain, would it have gone back into place?

I'm sorry to be coming back for this question I just got to thinking I didn't really understand it once I read it again after I accepted.
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 3 years ago.

Sorry Beth, I was already off the computer last night when I got your email and this morning have been swamped at work.

 

Cartilage did not crack or break, that's correct. Of course, it is possible to break a cartilage (for example, nose is composed of cartilage and people can break noses in fights but that's a lot of force that needs to be applied).

What I meant by rib slipping is more like a knee that cracks when one stands up or your finger joints can crack when they are bent. I probably didn't use the right word - slip - so it got you worried.

Really, I can reassure you, there is nothing to worry about. As of last night your aunt was comfortable and not in pain so you did not do any unintended damage to her.

 

Sorry to confuse you. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Julia

Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience: 7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
Julia Kizhner and 8 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I know my knee cartlage cracks or pops sometimes when I am walking up steps so I figured you can hear those things, but wasn't sure about the actual cracking that is why I got confused. She was fine all night I did put a cold compress on it a couple times before bed just to be on the safe side, but she hasn't moaned anymore since it happen or complained of pain. I am a born worry wart, it's hard not to be when you have grown up around sick family. My uncle calls me an old mother hen :) thank you again!

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Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner
Physician Assistant
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7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss