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Slipping Rib Syndrome
March 3rd ,2023

Slipping Rib Syndrome

Slipping rib syndrome also known as clicking rib, rib tip syndrome, displaced rib refers to an inflammation of the cartilage of the ribs. This condition occurs when the cartilage of one of your ribs slips and irritates the surrounding nerves. One of the first symptoms to appear in this condition is pain in the walls of the chest. Back pain is also common since ribs are a major support system of the body and when afflicted with a deforming condition, can shift out of place, causing undue pressure on the spine.

Slipping Rib Syndrome Causes and Risk Factors

This condition is usually a result of some traumatic injury to the body. It can also be caused due to hereditary reasons but accidents and falls are major causes behind slipping rib syndrome. Previous abdominal surgery and constrained postures can also cause the inflammation. Prolonged illnesses of the respiratory tract and forced coughing can also cause inflammation of the ribs and eventually, slipping rib Syndrome.

It has also been observed that women are more prone to the slipping rib syndrome than men. Other than this, people in sports involving a greater risk of chest injury are also prone to this Syndrome.

Symptoms of Slipping Rib Syndrome

The symptoms of this Syndrome can vary from person to person but the most commonly experienced symptoms are pain in the ribs, abdomen, and back. Certain movements or positions can trigger inflammation and pain especially when the rib experiences pressure. There may be tender point on costal margin. You might also hear a popping sound in the chest area which is a sign of a misaligned rib. Mostly unilateral pain is commonly seen.

The severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention are shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing and acute pain in the chest region.


Your doctor will perform a physical exam and look for symptoms to distinguish them from other conditions with similar symptoms. He will check the alignment of the ribs and by conducting the hooking maneuver and confirm whether your symptoms are a result of the rib which seems out of place. Although a physical exam is usually enough, your physician might recommend some imaging tests such as X-rays, to be completely sure of the diagnosis.


Slipping rib syndrome is usually best treated by non-invasive procedures such as physical therapy along with over-the-counter medications. By promoting the body to heal itself, your therapist will ensure a safe and smooth recovery from your illness, with the least side effects possible. Your therapist will apply measured pressure on the place where your rib joins the sternum bone. Make sure to avoid activities and postures that can further aggravate your condition.

 You need to take proper rest while also ensuring the right amount of movement for the body. Mild to moderate exercises are best to avoid further damage while ensuring a faster recovery for the body. If you’re experiencing pain then you can take NSAIDs.

A few other options available are intercostal nerve block injections, massage therapy, and Botox to reduce muscle pain.

One of the most important things when undergoing treatment is to take proper rest and avoid strenuous tasks. Do not perform exercises that impact the chest directly such as push-ups.

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