Can Running Cause Pulled Rib Muscles?

Your rib cage is supported by a network of tendons and muscles that permit the growth and contraction of your lungs and torso motion. Running can strain muscles around the torso, particularly if your muscles are cold or you press beyond your endurance. Muscle pulls can likewise occur after running; tired muscles are more quickly injured by a sudden motion or effect. Location of rib muscles makes treatment difficult. Talk to your doctor about your pain and possible treatment choices.

Muscles Around the Ribs

The ribs have their own set of muscles called intercostals that inhabit the areas in between each rib. The internal intercostals lie deep in between the ribs and diminish and back towards the spine. Separated by a layer of fibrous tissue called fascia, the external intercostals are more detailed to the skin; these muscles run down and forward. Your transversus thoracis likewise attaches to your ribs, as do the serratus anterior and posterior muscles, the levatores costarum and the subcostals. All these muscles provide support to the rib cage and work in expansion, contraction, lowering and raising the ribs during the breath cycle.

Muscle Strains and Running

A pulled muscle or strain takes place when muscle fibers are extended or torn during activity or impact. Pressures can be found in two ranges: acute and chronic. Suddenly pulling or tearing a muscle beyond its range of movement causes acute strains. A sudden twist, turn or sprint during a run can strain the muscles surrounding your rib cage. Sharp pain or muscle convulsions indicate an acute strain. Chronic strains occur slowly; extended, repetitive movement of a muscle group might eventually cause muscle fiber tears. Long-distance or long-lasting recreational runners are more at risk for chronic strains. Pain, like the injury, may manifest gradually, limiting motion and decreasing performance over time.

Therapy for Pull Rib Muscles

In the event of an intercostal muscle strain, your doctor will generally advise you take it easy, relax and use ice to the affected area. Therapy may include lying on your affected side and drawing deep breaths.

Post-Run Injury

Fatigue leaves muscles vulnerable to injury. Worn out rib muscles can easily extend or tear if not offered adequate time to rest. Raking, gardening and even getting your child right after a long run can pull a muscle in your torso. Injury can even occur the day after a run, particularly if you pressed your endurance limit. Stretching can help prevent muscle strains. Yoga’s side stretch present helps extend rib cage, chest and shoulder muscles. Stand with your feet flat on the ground, raise your left arm up and lean toward the right till you feel a stretch in your side. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.


Mild strains heal by themselves with adequate rest. You can use icepacks on the injured area to reduce swelling and pain. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are likewise useful. Breathing may be hard with rib muscle strain and mobility is influenced. If you experience breathlessness, can not walk more than 4 actions without substantial pain or see red streaks expanding from your injury, contact your doctor immediately.



Updated: August 13, 2016 — 4:18 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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