T Nation

Popped Rib Cartilage


Basically while rolling from turtle to a kneebar I twisted the wrong way and tore a small amount of rib cartilage. Anyone have any experience with this? The pain isn't to bad I can just feel the rib move slightly from time to time. Just wondering if anyone has ever tried to go back to early and injured themselves more severely.


I did this. I weakend the cartlige while being thrown, decided to ignore it and trained despite the little pain and popped it all the way out of place after a day of drilling side control then having someone jump guard. I now get to have a protruision for the rest of time, and it hurt like a motherfucker for two weeks after.

In other words, let it heal.


It happens fairly often. Don't rush the recovery


don't let anyone go knee to belly for awhile :wink:


I kind of figured not to rush. I was going to skip everything but running for 2 weeks then when I go back I was going to just do warm ups and technique drills for 2 more weeks with no live.

What sucks is that I forget it's injured until I twist then I get the pain and go "oh yeah". I just started taking a glucosamine supplement hoping that might heal the cartilage quicker.

Thanks for the experienced answer. I've been doing this for a long time(16 years of wrestling and 2 years jiu jitsu) and I have never had this happen to me, I think I'm just getting old.


Been there done that and spent the last twenty years regretting not letting it heal fully. It feels like I constantly have someone poking me in the side with a stick.

The only thing they can do to fix it is go in through a 4 inch incision cut the ribs loose and thread a wire in and out of the ribs. It is directly over the heart so it is very risky too.

That cartiledge heal slower than bone. You are going to want to give it at least six months to heal up.


I'm not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn.

I had a similar injury, one that actually occurred in pretty much the exact way the op described his own. It was painful for a couple days, tender for a couple weeks, and I was back going full speed ahead after a month. I sat out a week and a half without any sort of physical exertion and afterwards only took class and drilled technique for a few weeks.


I initially tore mine from a knee in the back about two or three months before it got tore completely loose from a punch. The rib beneath was barely attached to the rib above the loose one. Then it was flopping around all over the place. It took about six-eight months for it reattach itself on top of where it should be and harden up. The end of the bone is about two-three inches out of place.

It usually isn't painful but it is a bitch to have a rib sticky out of my side. It is something you will be aware of because there are a lot of muscles attached to it. So certain movements and excercises just won't feel right.

Pain wasn't as bad as a broken rib. I've had several ribs broken or fractured. They hurt at the time but they healed alright and there are no problems. That cartiledge is totally different. Just laying down to go to sleep pushes it out worse and I can't sleep on my stomach at all.

If they can ever figure out how to repair it with a keyhole surgery I would get it fixed.


Yeah, I had a rib ripped clean off the costal cartillage.

Was told if I didn't rest it wouldn't re-take and I'd have to have it wired into place.

So, rest.

It has healed, but I have one rib that sticks out now, and it took ages to be able to sleep on my left side again.


The pain is pretty much non exsistant now unless I twist my upper body far right. The first few days sucked, I am thinking it was a very small tear, if the pain continued I was going to the doctor but now it's pointless. He is just going to tell me what I know and to leave it alone.

Running did not bother it so I will just stick to that for a few more weeks. I hate missing class though, I feel like I am missing so much. Not to mention the actual sport specific cardio.


Did this (along with actually breaking some ribs) trying to fireman's carry-gone-bad a guy 90 pounds heavier than me in a wrestling practice right before a meet years and years ago (yes, our coach was a sadist). Tried to go back too fast and was promptly out of commission again, and worse than before. Would have funny, uncomfortable little pops (nothing you'd actually hear, but stuff you could feel) and tweaks at odd moments for the next ten years -- nothing that'd really stop me from doing anything, but enough to make me worry a little at first... Not sure where your torn cartilage is, but I can put my fingers on my chest and, if I poke around hard-ish, feel a little gap where things separated back then. Nothing moves around any more, and I haven't felt those odd tweaks for a long time... not sure why it finally cleared up or how easy it'd be to re-injure it, but I haven't had any problems with it for awhile now.

Pay attention to how it feels -- I think it's best to err on the conservative side with injuries like this. Of course, I say this having always erred on the other.


Mot to revive a dead thread or anything but i'm having the same issue. I was rolling with a fellow the other night. He got me in a very odd position..I tried to extend my hips and at the same time i turned my upper body. Well I think that twist mixed with his hand on my ribs caused the problem. I heard a pop and immediately stopped. got an xray and nothing broken.

I think I'm suffering from the slipping rib because when I move my upper body in certain directions I can here it click around. No real pain just discomfort unless I really torque my body. Should I wrap my ribcage or let them stay expanded in their natural state? Any advice would help. I can't stand not training lol.


They say wrapping is bad because it can lead to pneumonia.

Go to class if you can't possibly stay away, but DO NOT roll for a few weeks. You think it'll be okay, but it won't. Don't drill hard, or do anything that puts pressure on the ribs ie stack pass. You think it leaves you with nothing but it doesn't there are plenty of other things that you need to work on. Perfect your grip fighting the next 4 weeks.

If you don't let it heal, you'll regret it and be forced to actually be out for much longer.


Yea, that makes a lot of sense. Good looking out for the pneumonia thing. I'll stick to cardio and drilling. I'm going to purchase some Glucosamine and MSM tablets today. I'll begin taking those ASAP. I guess my body knows best and there isn't much pain unless I REALLY look for it(stretching to feel where the problem is).

I'm told myself no live rolling for 2 months and light rolling after a month if everything is feeling more normal. Like, not popping out and back in when I cough, sneeze or hiccup. haha Thank you also for your response. It's nice to be given piece of mind from other folks who have a love for sports or martial arts.


I popped a cartilage in my ribcage last weekend.. did it ever hurt but my tolerance to pain is pretty high and took painkillers and had it popped back into place.. my trainer helped me straighten my back with some back exercises and I'm fine..

I still feel a little something there at the moment but it'll be okay in a week.. I'm still training and doing cardio but am careful at work with how I bend and twist my upper body...

Kinda badass.. when I'd hinge over, and gently touch the area, I could feel it.. :stuck_out_tongue:


I got a pain in my sternum/rib cartilage whilst bench pressing. After a year all the inflammation went away but I could still feel the injury there. It feels like the cartilage or cartilage fibers is pulling off the sternum very slightly at about the 6th costal cartilage somtimes. I went back to lifting anyway and the inflammation and pain came back worse. Its been 6 months and I havent lifted anything just resting. Anybody know a time frame when I can lift again? Will the cartilage eventually heal or will it be an injury that eventually I can work round? Its so fustrating can anybody help me?