View Full Version : judo injury: sternum

17th October 2003, 18:57
Hi all,

I went to see a real doctor (which I rarely do) and he was not helpful at all really.

About two weeks ago my sternum was kinda crushed in judo (from tori trying to secure me with his shoulder. he did a REALLY good job). I don't know if the problem is muscular, or with the bone, cartiledge or what. I am not in pain per se, but, especially when I breathe in (or cough or sneeze) there is a fair bit of discomfort.

I am still going to judo (though a little bit less often) and I warn my training partners about my chest. I also try to avoid uchi-komi and other stuff where there is definitely going to be alot of impact with my chest.

Between practices it feels pretty good but towards the end of a practice I am definitely feeling it.

Am I a fool to continue practice? I AM trying to mould my keiko to fit my sitaution as much as I can. Frankly, I don't want to stop going unless I really MUST.

Advice anyone?


18th October 2003, 09:48
Did the doctor take X-rays? If there is no fracture, a dislocated rib could be the culprit or even severly bruised ribs, sternum, etc. If you really are having trouble breathing, it is a no brainer, get some x-rays taken. Embolisms can form from tiny chip fractures and can compress a lung making it difficult. A hairline fracture can do the same.

If no fracture, it could be a muscle since your complaints make it appear that way, but the treatment is the same: support. If you haven't, try using an elastic rib support making sure it doesn't make it any worse. You should be cutting back about the amount you are, so other than taking a few aspirin or ibuprofen for the pain and possible inflamation, you seem to have it under control (I recommend aspirin, you may prefer another. Aspirin comes from Salicylate trees and has been around far longer than when Bayer made it into a patent medicine).


BTW: How was it that the doctor was of no help? A lot of people have been saying that, lately, so I'm more curious than anything.

18th October 2003, 17:58
Hi Mark and thanks.

No x-ray was taken. The doctor said that an x-ray wouldn't be of much use (and I am only too happy to avoid one when reasonable).

Why wasn't the doctor helpful? Well, I went into the clinic at my university (this is the only place I go for medical advice)and waited around for about 40 minutes. The doctor comes in and asks, "what's the problem?" I explain to him the nature of my injury. He replies, very acerbically, "and what do you think I am going to be able to do about it?" He and I have no bad history. I don't even know the guy at all. This automatically sets the stage for an "unpleasant" encounter. I just tell him that I would like to know whether it's muscle or bone, what I can do, etc. No biggie.

Anyway he did end up by feeling around my chest with his hand. When I ask him if it's okay to keep doing judo he says, snarkily again, "what do you think?"
I think that the guy is a bit of an a**. Next time something like this happens I hope that the sports medicine specialist is in.

I don't have trouble breathing. It just feels wrong when I sneeze or cough or after practice (sometimes the day after practice)and when I deliberately inflate my lungs to the maximum or am generally breathing heavily.
I am not taking any pain killers.

The rib support sounds good. Does one get these at the drug store?


Joseph Svinth
19th October 2003, 02:27
"What we have heah is failyuh to co-municate." (Strother Martin in "Cool Hand Luke.")

Brusque bedside manner does not mean that the medicine is wrong. Thus, my recommendation is that you get "Medicine for Mountaineering," by Wilkerson, et al., and use that for a lot of your self-diagnosis and self-treatment. The price is right, and it's a great book.


Also check the Merck Manual, at http://www.merck.com/mrkshared/mmanual/home.jsp . This is what the doctors themselves use (or ought to, if they're not), and it will help you understand the technical babble.

It's easy to use, too. For example, typing the keywords "rib strain" into the search engine brings up "costochondritis" as the very first hit. This article says, in part: "Costochondritis results in sharp anterior chest pain of varying intensity that typically worsens with straining or motion of the rib cage. The most common locations are the 2nd and 4th ribs, either at the costochondral or costosternal junction. The pain is usually highly localized, and the area is exquisitely tender... Treatment is with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and local heat."

In other words, take two aspirin, apply a heating pad, and call me in the morning.

Brian Owens
19th October 2003, 09:42
Originally posted by allan
I am not taking any pain killers.

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is not just a pain killer, it's also an anti-inflammatory. If you can tolerate asprin it can help speed up the healing process.

If you can't tolerate aspirin, ask a druggist what other over-the-counter anti-inflammatories he would recommend. (I like aspirin, because it's been around for so long and is well understood. As MarkF pointed out, people were using willow bark tea long before they started popping pills.)

Hope you feel better soon.

20th October 2003, 17:48
Thank you everyone for all your replies and advice. As I am switching from largely solo-based practice to two-person practice I think that your suggestions will be of alot of use in my future.