Torn Cartilage in Chest

A torn cartilage is an extremely painful condition. In this HealthHearty article, we shall find out what can cause a cartilage tear in the chest or pectoral region, and look at how one can go about managing its symptoms and recovering from it.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2018
The chest region houses some of the strongest muscles, cartilage, and soft tissue in the human body. They play an important role in imparting upper-body strength to a person. However, even these aren't immune from injury.
When a cartilage in the chest is torn, it can give rise to debilitating pain, making it difficult or even impossible to carry on with daily activities. It requires immediate medical attention and proper care to heal.
In the following sections, we shall examine the typical causes of a cartilage tear in the chest, its symptoms, and the measures and treatments that one must undertake for a full recovery.
Causes
A torn cartilage in the chest is often the result of strenuous physical activity involving the upper body. It is an injury that most is most commonly seen among people who go to gyms or play sports. The following are a few of the causes of this injury.
  • Tear in pectoral or chest muscles can, many times, be caused by weightlifting in-spite of muscle fatigue.
  • It can also happen when a cold or an already worn out muscle is exerted.
  • If bench presses or similar exercises are done incorrectly, it can lead to a tear in the cartilage of the chest.
  • Activities which require a significant amount of force from the hands, chest and the allied area, can cause this problem. A few example of such activities include football tackles, chopping wood, pitching or batting, etc.
Symptoms
Pain
When there is a torn cartilage, the first and foremost sign is chest pain which seems to originate from the shoulder or upper arm and radiates in towards the chest. This pain may be confused for an arm pain caused by a heart attack. It is usually exacerbated as a result of arm movements, coughing, laughing or sneezing.
Swelling
Immediately, following the tear, there will usually be a mild to severe swelling beginning from the affected area of the chest and extending to shoulders and arms. This swelling and edema can stay for several weeks. The grade of swelling and bruising depends on how serious the injury is.
Movement and Power Limitations
If a cartilage is torn in the chest, it will considerably reduce the person's ability to lift weight, especially using the upper body. There will typically be some muscle weakness, especially when the person tries to lifts his/her arms to the sides making performing even simple daily activities a challenge. The movement of the shoulders too will be restricted.
Treatment
Resting and not straining the affected area is the most important thing to do while trying to recover from a torn cartilage. Restricted movement of the afflicted part will reduce the pain, and also allow the cartilage to heal faster.
Consulting a doctor at the earliest and obtaining the correct treatment is essential for proper recovery. Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory injection or pills might be prescribed, which will reduce the pain and swelling, and allow one to carry on with the daily activities.
Using a rib belt will provide support to the torn cartilage and limit the movement of your ribs, which will result in lesser pain during coughing, sneezing, moving and breathing, all of which would otherwise exacerbates the pain.
Applying heat compression or an ice pack, too, can help reduce the swelling caused by the torn cartilage in the chest. Note however that these shouldn't be applied for more than 20 minutes at a time.
The treatment may involve strengthening routines such as breathing exercises, which should be performed carefully and in consultation with a doctor.
Being particular about adhering to the doctor's advice and instructions, and maintaining regular follow-up of the treatment is essential for a quick and complete recovery.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.