Treatment for a bruised sternum

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A sternum is a bone along with the ribs function that serves as a protector of the anterior chest area. A severe blow, trauma or injury to the front area of the chest causes bruises on the sternum. A bruised sternum usually heals in about 4-6 weeks but depends on the severity of the condition.

Symptoms of a bruised sternum

  • Tenderness of the affected area
  • Swelling
  • Pain with movement
  • The breastbone area is bruised
  • Prolonged chest pain
  • Severe pain when coughing or laughing
  • Pain when inhaling
    Bruised sternum
    Severe pain when coughing or laughing


  • The seatbelt that is worn exerts force on the sternum during a vehicular accident.
  • A strong hacking cough places significant pressure on the sternum
  • Playing sports without using protective chest gear.


  • Rub ice cubes on the affected area for at least 5-10-minute intervals 3 times every day to lessen the swelling around the affected area. Wrap ice cubes in a towel before applying on the area. Avoid applying ice directly on the skin to prevent frostbite that can make the condition worse.
  • Avoid excessive movements and repetitive stress that can the condition worse. Avoid straining the affected area such as heavy lifting.
  • Avoid smoking since nicotine found in tobacco products constricts the vessels of blood and reduces the flow of blood in the area and reduces the number of nutrients that reaches the tissues.
  • Eat a balanced diet for fast healing of the affected area. Eat a varied diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables every day such as cherries, cabbage, carrots, spinach and guava.
  • Once the symptoms are reduced, start performing exercises that returns the range of motion. Perform gentle exercises such as swimming or biking to lessen stiffness of the area. Seek the help of a physical therapist before performing these exercises.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to lessen the pain and swelling.
  • Avoid eating certain foods such as refined grains, carbonated drinks such as soft beverages and sugary foods. Processed sugar causes inflammation and it is hard for the bones to heal. Foods high in salt content, alcohol and caffeine can cause bone loss.
  • Bromelain is a natural enzyme found in papaya and pineapples. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties that lessen the inflammation of a bruised sternum. Bromelain can also be taken in supplement form at least 500-2000mg at 2 times every day between meals to lessen the inflammation.
  • Boron is a mineral good for the health of the bones. Boron activates vitamin D3 which is another nutrient also good for the bone. Take at least 3-5 milligrams every day to promote healing of the bruises on the bone.

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