Chest Injury

by Denise
(Scottsdale, AZ)

I'm a 45 YO female, top physical shape (a personal trainer, boot camp instructor, fitness competitor) and have had my share of injuries in the past (i.e. torn labrum, torn tendons of elbow and a hole in the forearm muscle both surgically repaired and good recovery).


On Sat July 5th, I took a fall directly onto my chest. I was being pulled behind a boat on a 3 man raft with 2 of us on it at about 25 mph. The raft overturned and I flew from about 15 feet in the air directly onto my chest. It felt like my sternum was pulled totally backwards when I hit. The pain grew increasingly worse and is on the left side of my chest. I went to urgent care on the following day - negative X ray. Given Vicoden and sent home and told should get better every day.

Day 4 pain is worsening and meds don't help at all. I called urgent care to see if they could call in a muscle relaxer but they preferred I go to ER because they felt I should have a CT scan to show contusions or a muscular tear and so I could be given appropriate diagnostics and a possible shot to relieve pain.

Pain is a 7-9 when I cough, bend over in a certain way or do certain activities. The pain is deep into the chest wall on the left side. I'm a personal trainer and I can't move any equuipment or do anything light or heavy to assist my clients without feeling significant pain.

I went to the ER day 4 upon recommendation and was only given an X Ray, physical exam & questions by PA and seen by the dr for 3 secs who said I bruised my muscle and did not need a CT scan? That's ridiculous to me. He prescribed me Darvocet and a muscle relaxer and told me it should get progressively better each day.

Day 5 same as day 4 and very very little relief from meds. Why wouldn't the ER doc have just gotten the chest xray out of the way? Now I'm likely going to have to go to my orthopedic surgeon and still have the CT scan at some point I'm going to bet.

Suggestions?

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Jul 10, 2008
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The ER can be so frustrating...
by: Bart - SII

ER physicians are usually not going to order a CT or an MRI unless the condition is life threatening - if you had complained of chest pain or shortness of breath you might have gotten the CT - and a whole other host of tests... They will save the musculoskeletal diagnostics for the orthopedist.

It sounds like you have the right idea - get in to see your ortho and get to the bottom of this injury - you may need a CT, or they may be able to give you an idea of what could be going on.

5 days out from a chest wall contusion / rib contusion (if that is what you have) is going to still be pretty painful. But following up with your own orthopedist is a good idea.

Hope this helps - comment back with other questions.

Jul 11, 2008
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Thank You For Your Response
by: Anonymous

All makes sense to me. The Urgent Care doctor I had originally seen and spoke to over the phone who directed me to go to ER instead of back to him was who indicated that a CT scan should be done at ER . . . knowing what you said about CTs not being done there with exceptions of certain conditions makes more sense now.

It's just frustrating that I will likely have to go to three different locations (urgent care, ER & ortho) to get one answer . . . the time & money I'm investing in figuring this out is also frustrating. I realize that pretty much regardless of what is even found on CT that there's nothing much that can be done other than rest but I want to know if I've torn something so I get a better understanding of my down time.

I really appreciate your time and your response makes total sense to me. I am going to book an appt with my orthopedic surgeon and if I get a lot better I'll just cancel prior to the appt.

If you don't mind me asking do you have any credentials or medical/sports injury background?

Jul 11, 2008
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Credentials
by: Bart - SII

I am a certified athletic trainer (ATC) and work in a sports medicine clinic treating acute and post-surgical patients. I was at one time also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, but I forgot to fill out the paperwork for my CE, and that certification lapsed. I have an undergraduate degree in Athletic Training and a Masters degree in Sports Health Care.

Bart

Jul 11, 2008
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Bart Rocks!
by: Anonymous

Thanks to you for responding and for your time. Sounds like I should have just asked you first :)). Thanks again!

Denise

Sep 25, 2015
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