Intercostal sprain

Last week I thought I'd take my training a bit easier as I was doing a half marathon at the weekend.Went on the elliptical trainer at the gym. Had slight twinge in an intercostal muscle whilst on machine.Then OK for next 2 days. The day of the race,felt slight twinge again whilst driving to the race;ignored it,felt no pain during the race. Then that evening and for last 3 days suffered excruciating pain on every inspiration,cough, sneeze etc! Now pain is subsiding, very wary of elliptical trainers now!!!


  • Runnerbeen, you poor sausage! You have my sympathy - intercostal pain hurts and nothing seems to make much difference to it apart from allowing time to heal the damage.

    Don't let it put you off using the elliptical trainer, though, if it's otherwise an important part of your cross-training. After all, if we all stopped running whenever we pulled a muscle, what would become of this forum?
  • It is a helluva bad muscle to strain; I can't run,I can't cycle,I can't elliptical cross train, I can't swim- but it is getting less painful!!
  • I did in several of my intercostal muscles when I went roller-blading around the bumpy pavements of Brum in boots that were too big. Then tried to swim off the pain. The only good thing was that the pain was gone in less than a week.
  • Where is an intercostal muscle? sounds like it should be between the seasides? (all said in very small voice, so as not to seem to stupid for not knowing anything).
  • So it does, Pamela! Intercostal muscles are the muscles which run in thin layers between your ribs ans stabilise your chest wall. Running doesn't usually stress them, although by the end of the London Marathon I was aware of pain in every single one of those little muscles.

    Intercostal muscle is what you're eating when you have barbecued spare ribs.
  • Intercostal muscles are the muscles between each rib.So when one is sprained, every time you breath in, you get a raw stabbing pain in the chest! A sneeze can put you on the floor! I have sprained several over the years, and yes I have found that the pain is usually gone within a week or so.I just thought that it was a bit ironic that when having a day off from running 9using the elliptical trainer) I end up unable to run at all!
  • I have damaged my intercostal muscles too! Got stabbing pain in my right shoulder blade like someone was twisting a knife in there when on treadmill could only run for 5 mins pain was so bad. Had physio on Monday (very painful) am just resting now she told me to do very gentle stretching and put a hot water bottle where the pain is and take anti-inflammatories. Really hurts when I turn over in bed at night and when lying down initially. Sneezing and coughing is v painful. Don't know if its the running that causes it or the weights. image  Anyway today is day 4 and its still painful but not as bad.
  • Teejay how is your shoulder now? Any improvement? I have similar.
  • B******s to intercostal pain. I broke 5 major ribs within an inch of my spine in a m/bike accident and was running again within 2 weeks albeit with my arm in a sling (that was broken too).  Laughing or sneezing were the real problems.
  • Loads of useful info here - thanks. I'm just back from seeing the doc who thinks I may have broken a rib, but intercostal muscle strain is also a possibility. Have been feeling more and more sore for the last week, but had just got back into running recently, so pleased to hear that it won't hamper me for too long image
  • Glad I came across this thread. I was out running in the wee hours last night and put a bit of a pace on to finish.

     As soon as I stopped I got a sharp pain on the left side of my chest. Thought I was done for! Except it only hurt when I breathed in hard or tried to cough.. other than that I felt fine - no shortness of breath or dizziness.

     Took my pulse and BP when I got home. Both fine. Bent over to take my trainers off and got the pain again.

    Thought it had to be muscular, but this thread has confirmed it. I could actually narrow it down to a pain between two ribs. Was scary as hell for a minute or two though! image

     I think having not done anything for years (and stopping smoking a year ago) this extra effort is straining musckes I didn't even know I had. 

  • As a result of a virus I have coughed so much that Ihave managed to pulled my intercostal muscle. I can't run or cross train! I still have the cough. It has been just over a week since I last ran, just seems to be taking ages to get better! Is there any light at the end of the tunnel!?
  • Have sprained another intercostal muscle couple days ago doing track sprint intervals. Did google search and came across this thread that I started 9 years ago! Well that original spain was only painful for a few days, hope the latest one is equally unproblematic. Pain is inbetween lower right ribs and have had sharp stabbing pains that have nearly put me on the deck!

  • Doing last long run before Abingdon on Friday and came a cropper at mile 19, landing on my right side. Initial vanity about had I damaged my face soon replaced by pain upper right chest  and armpit.  Ran again yesterday but couldn't talk and run or cough and run at the same time.  Bedtime agony, really painful changing position.  Sounds as though it may take some time to heal and I've only got 3 weeks before the race. 
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