Bruised Sternum: Causes and How to Treat Them

bruised sternum

Speed up the healing process of bruised sternum

In the middle of our chest, there is a flat bone, which is called sternum. The collarbone or clavicle is supported by the upper part of the sternum, and the margin of the sternum is attached to the cartilage of first seven ribs. Sternum by acting as a shield protects the vital organs of your chest cavity, i.e., the heart, the lungs and blood vessels. Sternum has mainly three sections such as manubrium, body and xiphoid process. A cracked or bruised sternum results from a powerful impact to the breastbone, usually caused by the car accident or with a direct blow when you are playing contact sports.

This case is also known as sternum contusion.Trauma to the sternum might be caused by several factors like blunt force and requires a time span of 4 to 6 weeks to heal. Patients should respond as soon as bruised sternum symptoms could be experienced to prevent the worsening of the condition. During this time patients feel an uneasiness to breathe because of severe pain. Although bruised sternum needs time for complete healing but with home remedies and medications one can experience fast recovery. This article attempts to provide you with a guideline on the causes of bruised sternum, its symptoms and the natural home remedies that can speed up the healing process.

Causes of bruised sternum

Causes of bruised sternum

As mentioned earlier bruised sternum results from the forceful impact on the chest. This is usually an adult
problem. However, there are also children who suffer from it. In children bruised sternum often, occurs due to hacking whooping cough. However, with modern medications and advent of vaccination, this problem has reduced to a great extent. Here are a few common causes associated with cracked or bruised sternum.


  • Car accident

A car accident often leads to bruised sternum, if a driver driving the car without wearing seat belt gets confronted to an accident; there is an immense possibility of bruised sternum as the chest and thorax slams directly into the steering wheel. This has a severe impact; it not only leads to bruised sternum but also breaks bones and injuries internal organs. Sometime bruised sternum also occurs even if the driver wears the seat belt because the seat belt prevents you from moving forward and can lead to damaging. However, seat belts can save your life.

  • Hacking cough

A hacking or whooping cough at times is so violent that it can end up bruising the sternum. The forceful nature of the coughing pressurizes the chest plate, and when this type of coughing continues for a long time, the sternum gets bruised.

  • Sports injury

Some sports are violent in nature like boxing, rugby, football and hockey. The impact experienced in these sports increases the risk of bruising, and if the player doesn’t wear protective gear, the risk of bruised sternum gets increased.

Signs and symptoms of a bruised sternum

It is important that you respond quickly as soon as you experience bruised sternum symptoms so that the situation can be prevented from worsening and can be healed quickly. Most cases of bruised sternum are characterized by trauma on the chest, and the symptoms gradually develop after the incident.symptoms of a bruised sternum

Breastbone becomes tender to touch, if you experience pain in the middle of your chest while laughing, coughing and holding the hands high or with movement of the upper body area while bending backwards, forwards and sidewards or if you experience swelling on the sternum or in front of chest, and if the pain lasts for weeks then you should not waste time and consult your doctor. These patients often avoid deep breathing because it hurts and thus breathing becomes shallow. Shallow breaths give temporary relief by lessening the pain. You should not ignore bruised sternum symptoms because it might lead to severe lung infection and other diseases.

Natural treatments for a bruised sternum

It is sometimes difficult to handle the aftermath of a sports injury or car accident. In a case of a severely bruised sternum, your doctor will recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin. This medicine will help to reduce pain and swelling that is associated with breastbone injury, but these medications are not recommended for children below 16 years of age, because it may lead to a rare but fatal medical condition called Reye’s syndrome.

Your doctor might advise you for an x-ray before embarking on bruised sternum treatment. You shall also be suggested microcurrent therapy reduce pain and repair damaged tissues. Your breastbone will be exposed to a small electrical current by this therapy as traumatic injury disrupts your body’s electrical field. This micro current device is designed in such a way that it will correct the electrical field. Some natural treatments and remedies are there for a bruised sternum that includes the following

   1-  Cold compress

Rubbing a cold compress along your bruised sternum reduces swelling and pain. You must rub a cold compress for five to ten minutes to reduce pain, but keep in mind that you should not apply ice directly to your skin. Always wrap the ice with a piece of cloth to create a cold compress. This is one of the best ways that can reduce swelling. Some people call this remedy “ice massage.”

  2- Having a healthy diet

It is necessary to have a proper nutrient rich diet to initiate the healing of the bones faster. Vitamin C can reduce inflammation; vitamin k heals bone bruises as it regulates blood clotting. Food like broccoli, parsley, lettuce, and cauliflower has this nutritional value. Fruits like lemon juice, cantaloupe and strawberries have high vitamin C contain.

  3- Certain food should be avoided

Certain food should be avoided to help your bruised breastbone heal. Processed food like carbonated drinks, sodas, food high in sugar, refined grains should be eliminated from the diet because these foods promote inflammation and don’t help your bone to heal. Many-processed food contains high salt level, which is also responsible for bone loss.

  4- Low impact exercise

The proper way of working out with a bruised sternum is low impact and no weight bearing exercises such as biking, walking, and swimming, this will help to reduce the stiffness which is associated with your cracked sternum.Heavy exercise can only be performed after the complete recovery of your injury, but doctors need to be consulted before starting any form of exercise.

    Also Read: How to get rid of bruises fast?

  5- Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies help to heal sternum bruises caused by injury. Arnica Montana is often used as the first remedy for bruised sternum; it helps to reduce the initial shock of a car accident or sports injury after that Aconite is given to overcome the fear from the bruise. Leduc, bellies, calendula are some of the other effective remedies for a bruised sternum.

  6- Usage of bone promoting nutrients

Several nutrients such as calcium, magnesium are there that support bone health. Calcium phosphate is the nutrient by which bones are made of; magnesium deals with the proper metabolism of calcium by activating vitamin D and producing parathyroid hormone. Studies show that there are essential fatty acids that help to improve calcium absorption. Zinc, strontium, silicon, manganese are some of the important nutrients that keep the bone healthy.

  7- Bromelain

Bromeliad is an enzyme that has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which help in the reduction of swelling that results from a bruised sternum. This enzyme can commonly be found in pineapple and papaya, but studies say that it is far more effective in supplement form. 500 to 2,000 milligrams of bromeliad twice daily between meals can prevent inflammation.

  8- Boron

By combining with calcium helps to build bones and is another great mineral for bone health. and by activating vitamin D3 helps to keep the bone healthy; it also helps to reduce blood clotting. Patients suffering from bone injury are recommended to take three to five milligrams daily, which will help in the recovery of bone bruises.

  9- Smoking should be avoided or quit

Smoking weakens bone, and smoking or second-hand smoke reduces the rate of bone healing. It is hard to quit smoking for a chain smoker but is a very good preventive strategy that reduces the severity caused by breastbone injury.

Every person is different from the other person and has different healing speed. Thus the time of recovery and the severity of traumatic injury vary from person to person. This period is not at all comfortable for the patient because he feels pain at the slightest chest movement.

This condition makes it difficult, for the patient to do certain daily tasks like lifting any object. Extending the hand over the head, etc., but, nowadays with anti-inflammatory medications. It has become possible to reduce pain and swelling. A person suffering from breastbone injury should get plenty of rest. Especially athletes are suggested to take time and get rest; they should never return to playing without complete healing of the wound. Natural remedies if followed correctly will certainly speed up the healing process.

2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. That’s fantastic news!!! Thank you for sharing! I will remember this;! God bless you and your family

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