Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children skin wound warning signs Underlying Cause Anatomy

Pain in the Rib after Injury Skin Wound

Minor cuts, abrasions and puncture wounds to the chest that do not require medical care can be treated at home. Initial care includes:

  • Control bleeding with direct pressure.
    • Use a gauze or clean cloth directly on the wound.
    • Maintain the pressure for at least 10 minutes.
    • Do not keep looking at the wound.
  • Clean the wound with mild soap and water. Running water can help remove dirt.
  • You may gently dab the wound with hydrogen peroxide to remove clotted blood or debris. Do not scrub or re-injure the wound.
  • Be sure there is no dirt or other foreign material left in the wound.
  • A butterfly bandage can be used to close very small, clean cuts.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment and a dry dressing.
  • Cover the wound with gauze or elastic bandage. Facial wounds may be left uncovered.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry.
  • Protect and rest the injured area.
  • Elevate the injured body part.

Ongoing care for minor skin wounds includes:
  • Abrasions may be cleaned 2-3 times a day with a mild soap such as dilute baby shampoo.
  • Abrasions to the feet need special care. These tend to become infected very easily. Clean foot abrasions three to four times a day and wear an open shoe.
  • Gently clean scabs off the face with a warm, wet, soft cloth and hydrogen peroxide - try not to cause bleeding. Do not disturb dry scabs in other parts of the body.
  • Dry the wound gently, and completely, with a clean towel or gauze.
  • Apply an antibiotic and a dressing as needed.

Tetanus Considerations
Tetanus shots (boosters) can be given up to three days after an injury, as long as you have had all your tetanus shots in the past. A tetanus booster seldom needs to be given right at the time of the wound. This is not an emergency and can be done in the doctor's office or clinic.

A tetanus shot is necessary right away if you have not had three tetanus shots at any time in your life.

You need a tetanus shot within three days for:
  • A dirty wound and you have not had a tetanus shot in the last five years
  • A clean, minor wound and you have not had a tetanus shot in the last ten years

Continue to Pain in the Rib after Injury Warning Signs

Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Pain in the Rib after Injury References
  1. Aihara R, Millham FH, Blansfield J, Hirsch EF. Emergency room thoracotomy for penetrating chest injury: effect of an institutional protocol. J Trauma. 2001 Jun;50(6):1027-30. [11426116]
  2. Ferguson M, Luchette FA. Management of blunt chest injury. Respir Care Clin N Am. 1996 Sep;2(3):449-66. [9390891]
  3. Nagy KK, Krosner SM, Roberts RR, Joseph KT, Smith RF, Barrett J. Determining which patients require evaluation for blunt cardiac injury following blunt chest trauma. World J Surg. 2001 Jan;25(1):108-11. [11213149]
  4. Sartorelli KH, Vane DW. The diagnosis and management of children with blunt injury of the chest. Semin Pediatr Surg. 2004 May;13(2):98-105. [15362279]
  5. Wanek S, Mayberry JC. Blunt thoracic trauma: flail chest, pulmonary contusion, and blast injury. Crit Care Clin. 2004 Jan;20(1):71-81. [14979330]
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