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Chest injury

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A chest injury occurs after the result of an accident or intentional penetration of a foreign object into the chest. A chest injury can also lead to chest wall injury which causes rib bruises or fractures and lung or heart contusions.

A chest injury comes in different severity accompanied by different signs and symptoms.

  • A minor chest injury is usually accompanied by chest wall pain. Chest pain can still be caused by a minor damage for days. Deep breathing, sneezing or forceful coughing can also increase the pain. Minor chest injuries often do not require a trip to the doctor and can be treated at home to help lessen the discomfort.
  • A serious chest injury is accompanied by discomfort or difficulty in breathing after the injury occurs. Other signs can also develop rapidly such as shortness of breath or symptoms of shock. A serious chest injury is caused by a powerful strike to the chest which can injure impair in the chest or upper abdomen.
  • A rib fracture can also occur. Damage to the chest can break a rib or injure a cartilage in the rib cage. Symptoms of a broken or bruised rib include a sharp, severe pain at the site of the chest injury accompanied by pain that becomes while breathing, cough or when you apply pressure on the injured site.
    Chest injury

    Minor chest injuries often do not require a trip to the doctor and can be treated at home to help lessen the discomfort.

Signs and symptoms of a chest injury

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability of the chest to normally expand
  • Crunching sensation in the ribs
  • Bruising


In treating a chest injury, these guidelines should be followed to prevent the injury from becoming worse:

  • Do not remove the object associated with the chest injury.
  • A clean airtight dressing should be used immediately to cover any hole that extends into the chest cavity.
  • Give the injured person clean and pure oxygen to breathe.
  • Immobilize the injured person’s neck and back after the chest injury occurs.
  • CPR should be applied if necessary.

Anyone who sustained a chest injury must seek medical attention right away to prevent any more injury and complications.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on a chest injury is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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