How to Heal Torn Rib Cartilage

Torn rib cartilage, also called costochondral separation, can be one of the most difficult injuries to heal, because it cannot simply be placed in a cast. Ribs must move in order for your lungs to properly function, which inhibits healing. Symptoms of a torn rib cartilage include pain when you breathe, cough or sneeze, laugh and even move. Knowledge of techniques to promote healing along with a little time and patience will cure a rib that is torn from its cartilage as soon as possible.

Rest your body and allow it to heal for at least six weeks. You may not participate in sports or any other strenuous activities.

Ice the area in the initial stages of injury to reduce inflammation. Apply an ice pack covered with a towel for 20 to 30 minutes every three to four hours. Take an anti-inflammatory drug or other pain killer to continue to reduce inflammation.

Use a rib belt to compress the rib cage so it cannot expand too far when you breathe, cough or laugh. This is an elastic strap that is 8 inches wide, circling the rib cage. This also lessons the pain of everyday movement.


See a doctor to ascertain which rib injury you have incurred. Some injuries may be more harmful than others and will need different techniques for healing.