Read below about bruised chest area, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your bruised chest area from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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10 Potential Bruised Chest Area Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)

    Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

    Costochondritis is generally self-limiting but may take several weeks to go away.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, chest pain that is worse when breathing, chest pain, rib pain when moving, pain when pressing on the chest
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Rib Bruise or Fracture

    Broken or bruised ribs are usually caused by a fall or a blow to the chest, although occasionally this can happen due to severe coughing. With a broken rib, the pain is worse when bending and twisting the body.

    Improves on its own within 3 to 6 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, rib pain from an injury, sports injury, rib pain on one side, injury from a common fall
    Symptoms that always occur with rib bruise or fracture:
    rib pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Bacterial Pneumonia

    Bacterial pneumonia is the infection of the lungs with bacteria (as opposed to a fungus or a virus).

    1-3 weeks

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, cough, headache, loss of appetite, shortness of breath
    Symptoms that always occur with bacterial pneumonia:
    cough
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  4. 4.Bronchitis

    Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that often brings up mucus, as well as shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. It is typically caused by a virus.

    Symptoms resolve within 1-2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    cough, productive cough, sore throat, wheezing, coughing up green or yellow phlegm
    Symptoms that always occur with bronchitis:
    cough
    Symptoms that never occur with bronchitis:
    nausea or vomiting
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Chest Bruise

    A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the chest are common, given how exposed this area of the body is.

    Bruises begin to heal within one week.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, constant rib pain, rib pain from an injury, recent chest injury, bruised chest area
    Symptoms that always occur with chest bruise:
    rib pain from an injury, recent chest injury, constant rib pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Bruised Chest Area Checker

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  6. 6.Atypical Chest Pain

    Atypical chest pain describes the situation when someone's chest pain is unlikely to be related to heart or lung disease. There are many other possible causes that could explain chest pain, like sore chest wall muscles or psychological factors like stress and anxiety.

    Recovery time depends on the underlying cause.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    chest pain, shortness of breath
    Symptoms that always occur with atypical chest pain:
    chest pain
    Symptoms that never occur with atypical chest pain:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Common Cold

    The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.

    The common cold resolves within 7 to 10 days.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat, congestion
    Symptoms that never occur with common cold:
    being severely ill, severe muscle aches, rash, severe headache, sinus pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  8. 8.Panic Disorder

    Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror without true danger. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart.

    Chronic with relapses

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea, stomach bloating, depressed mood
    Symptoms that always occur with panic disorder:
    anxiety
    Symptoms that never occur with panic disorder:
    agoraphobia
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)

    A collapsed lung happens when air enters the pleural space, the area between the lung and the chest wall. If it is a total collapse, it is called pneumothorax.

    2-3 days

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    rib pain, rib pain on one side, shortness of breath, rib pain that gets worse when breathing, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, chest pain that gets worse when breathing or coughing
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  10. 10.Mitral Valve Prolapse

    Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) occurs when the valve between the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly because the flaps of the valve are "floppy." Most people who have the condition are born with it.

    Without surgery, this is a lifelong condition.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, anxiety, rib pain, shortness of breath, racing heart beat
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Bruised Chest Area

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Did you recently suffer an injury to your heart-area?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our bruised chest area symptom checker to find out more.

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Bruised Chest Area Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced bruised chest area have also experienced:

    • 13% Rib Pain
    • 4% Chest Pain
    • 4% Rib Pain on One Side
  • People who have experienced bruised chest area had symptoms persist for:

    • 37% Less Than a Week
    • 24% Less Than a Day
    • 13% One to Two Weeks
  • People who have experienced bruised chest area were most often matched with:

    • 6% Acute Costochondritis (Chest Wall Syndrome)
    • 4% Rib Bruise or Fracture
    • 4% Bacterial Pneumonia
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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