A bruised sternum, or sternum contusion as it is also known, occurs after an impact to the sternum or breastbone. This most frequently occurs after road traffic accidents, although collision sports and those with hard balls or rackets etc can also impact the sternum. From this injury the front of the chest will be painful and there may be difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of a bruised sternum
Symptoms include pain on the breastbone following impact. The patient will feel tenderness at the front of the chest over the bone and breathing may be painful. Coughing and sneezing are also likely to reproduce pain and bruising may appear later.
If the pain is severe seek medical attention as soon as possible. A doctor will perform a full examination and may order X-rays which can confirm that there are no fractures to the sternum or the ribs.
Treatment of a bruised sternum requires rest for 2-4 weeks to allow the bone to heal. Ice and anti-inflammatory medication may be advised by the doctor to help ease pain and inflammation.