For you who don’t know what sternum is, sternum is flat bone that is located in the middle of the chest which is well-known as breastbone. It is a sword-like bone that is connected to the ribs and creates rib cage that performed a shied for protecting some vital organs such as lungs, heart, and blood vessels.
In many cases, it is found that many people feel bruised on the sternum. Like any other bruise, basically, bruised sternum is caused by the trauma or injury that occurs on the sternum.
The traumatic injury will damage the blood vessel underneath the skin’s surface. The blood is trapped beneath the skin’s surface and create bruise.
There are some factors that can cause traumatic injury on the sternum. Car accident has become one of the most common causes of bruised sternum.
Commonly, bruised sternum will occur when the driver don’t wear the seatbelt on the car accident. It will make the chest will directly hit the steering wheel.
However, when you wear seatbelt, you can also get bruised sternum because the belt will hardly hold your chest to prevent you moving forward in the accident. Other factor such as sport injury and hacking cough can also lead to bruised sternum.
What to Do if You Have a Bruised Sternum?
When you suffer from bruised sternum as the result of car accident, commonly, it is recommended that you go to doctor and chest X-ray to check how severe the condition is. It also helps you determine whether or not there is damage or crack in the rib cage and sternum.
When it is quite severe, the doctor will recommend some anti-inflammatory medicines and some therapies to reduce the pain and repair the damage. When it is not really severe, there are some treatments that you can do for a bruised sternum.
First thing that you can do for a bruised sternum is by applying cold compress to the bruised area. The cold compares can help you reduce the swelling, the bruise and the paint.
You need to wrap the ice cube with a piece of cloth and compress the bruise area. You should compress the bruised sternum in five until ten minutes for three times a day.
When you get bruised sternum, you need also do some low-impact activity or exercise. You need to be careful not to do some activity that can make the injury getting worse.
However, you needs also do some exercise that can help your body to heal the bruised sternum and avoid the stiffness. It is recommended to do some low-impact exercise such as swimming, walking, and biking.
It is also recommended that you consume some foods that contains nutrient such vitamins and mineral that promote the faster healing process. It is recommended that you taking enough rest.
What Are Symptoms of Bruised Sternum?
When you suffer from bruised sternum, there are some symptoms that can be feel and seen. The first and the most common symptoms that you can feel is the pain in the sternum or chest area.
The pain is the result of the traumatic injury that occurs in the sternum. The pain can also become the sign of the damage or the crack of breastbone.
There are many level of severe in the pain. In the mild level, you may still tolerate the pain. However, the severer condition can be very painful. You can feel the pain when you breathe or move.
The pain can get severe when you laugh too hard, cough, sneeze, or bend your body. Tenderness is also maybe experienced when you suffer from bruised sternum.
It can be painful when you touch or put pressure to the bruised area. Prolonger chest pain is also commonly felt when you suffer from bruised sternum. The prolonger chest pain can last for weeks.
Discoloration is also one of the most common symptoms of bruised sternum. Discoloration is a condition when the bruised skin turns into darker.
Commonly, discoloration is caused by the damage blood vessels. The blood is trapped bellow the skin and it creates bruise.
However, in bruised sternum, discoloration can also be a clear sign of bones crack or damage. Commonly, discoloration is also followed by swelling.
It will make the bruised area looks bigger. The swelling is caused by the collision that occurs to the sternum.
Is My Sternum Bruised or Fractured?
In the sternum injury, it is common that people confused about the difference between bruised sternum and fracture sternum. Some people don’t really sure to determine whether the traumatic injury is only bruise or it is fractured.
Whether it is only ordinary bruise or fractured, both of them posses the same symptoms. In the fractured sternum you can also some symptoms that possessed by bruised sternum such as the pain, discoloration, and swelling.
In fact, people often thing that the bruising is also a clear sign of fractured sternum. Due to that fact, it is recommended that people who have just got car accident or sport injury to do chest X-rest to clearly determine or diagnosis the condition.
However, there are some different symptoms that that be recognized from fractured sternum. Commonly, when it is fractured sternum, the swelling will look worse and last longer which will get worse when you don’t give any treatment.
When it is fractured sternum, you may more difficult to move your body because any movement can possibly hurt you and worsen the condition. In fact, you barely can move your upper part of body.
How Long Does a Bruised Sternum Take to Heal?
How long the bruised sternum take to heal depends on some factors, but commonly, it will take longer that other types of bruise. It will take more around four until six weeks until the sternum completely healed.
The healing process can be influenced by how severe the condition is. When it is quite severe, it may take longer time to heal it, but if it is less severe, it may take four weeks to heal the bruise.
Therefore, it is important to check the bruise to the doctor. With chest X-ray, the doctor can tell you how severe it is and the proper treatment that can help you to heal the bruise.
The healing process can also influenced by the way you treat the bruise. When it looks severe but you don’t do any proper treatment, it will take longer for you to heal the bruise.
You need to be patient enough the healing process of bruised sternum. You need also to do the proper treatment to get the better and faster result.