Great Britain Rowing Team Guideline for diagnosis and management of rib stress injury: Part 1

Br J Sports Med. 2016 Mar;50(5):266-9. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095126. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


Background: Rib stress injury (RSI) is the development of pain due to bone oedema caused by overload along the rib shaft and is commonly seen in rowers. Often clinicians who manage this injury are experienced with the condition at the elite level. There may, however, be a lack of confidence in diagnosing and managing this condition by clinicians who are not regularly exposed to this injury. As a result, an evidence-based guideline has been developed to aid diagnosis and management of RSI.

Methods: A detailed literature search was conducted reviewing the diagnosis and management of RSI. Detailed discussions were held by the Great Britain Rowing Medical Team to identify key issues in diagnosis and management of RSI. An up-to-date, evidence-based approach to managing RSI was created using both expert knowledge and current literature to formulate a functional guideline outlining best practice in management of RSI in rowers.

Results: A clinical guideline has been created incorporating 5 key areas: diagnosis, severity grading, investigation, management and associated risk factors for RSI. Important indicators for each key area are incorporated within the guideline using relevant literature where possible alongside expert opinion. The guideline has deliberately been kept concise and tailored for use in the clinical setting.

Conclusions: A new clinical guideline for management of RSIs has been developed to facilitate clinicians in identifying RSI, aiding accurate diagnosis and providing effective management. This guideline is to be disseminated to clinicians, rowing coaches and clubs throughout the UK.

Keywords: Rib.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bone Diseases / therapy*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pain / etiology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Ribs / injuries*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports
  • United Kingdom