Orthopedic Health

How Is Slipped Rib Syndrome Managed?

Written by
Dr. Vasantha K S
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

28 May 2019  -  1 min read



Slipped rib syndrome, also referred to as slipping rib syndrome, clicking rib syndrome, displaced ribs, painful rib syndrome, etc., is a painful condition where the lower ribs slip away from their normal position and move up and down causing a sensation of 'rib slipping.'

How Is Slipped Rib Syndrome Managed?


Slipping rib syndrome is a rare condition where the ribs slip from their normal position due to the movement of the ligaments causing abdominal pain or back pain. It may affect persons of any age group following a trauma or surgery.

The ribs involved are the eighth, ninth, and tenth ribs as they are not connected to the central chest bone but to each other by loose tissues and ligaments. Although this allows for more flexibility and movement, it also makes these ribs more prone to slipping in case of an injury or blow.



  • Weakness of chest muscles.
  • Asthma.
  • Injury/trauma.
  • Degeneration of muscles.
  • Severe cough.


The doctor, after taking a thorough history, will perform the 'hooking maneuver' test to confirm the slipping rib syndrome. In this test, the doctor will hook his fingers under the patient's last rib and make an upwards and backward movement. If this action causes pain, then a diagnosis is made. Further tests are then not necessary.


The treatment plan will be decided based on the severity of symptoms.

For mild to moderate discomfort, the doctor may advise:

  1. Bed rest.
  2. Posture avoidance.
  3. Physiotherapy.
  4. Ice pack.
  5. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

For severe pain, the doctor may advise:

  1. A steroid injection.
  2. Injection of botulinum toxin.
  3. Ultrasound therapy.
  4. Surgery, in the form of costal cartilage excision.

As the symptoms of slipping rib syndrome are general and nonspecific, they can be confused to be due to a different condition. Hence it is important to address the concern at the earliest and get treated soon.

Last reviewed at:
28 May 2019  -  1 min read




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