Beth Sullivan | June 4th, 2019
On Monday night Kevon Looney was ruled out indefinitely by the Golden State Warriors with a right first costal cartilage fracture. This latest injury just adds to the injury woes of the Warriors, who are still without Kevin Durant who is recovering from a mild calf strain and has not been cleared to play while Klay Thompson who suffered a mild hamstring strain in game 2 of the finals is listed as questionable for game three.
If you are interested in sprains and strains, what they are, and recovery times and treatments. Check out my article on Sprains and Strains here and my comments on Durant’s injury that I wrote back when he was initially injured.
Let’s deal with the latest injury to befall the Warriors, Looney’s costal cartilage fracture. I’m sure many of you are asking what is costal cartilage. I’m glad you asked that. The costal cartilage is the cartilage that sits between the sternum (breast bone) and the ribs. It is what allows the ribs to move in and out when you breathe. As you can see in this video of the play where he got injured, he was hit in the upper chest by the arm or shoulder. This force caused the injury to the cartilage.
In this picture, the darker colored structures are bones and the lighter colored areas are the costal cartilage. There is costal cartilage associated with all of the ribs. In Looney’s case, he injured the right 1st so the fracture is in the little area of light color on the left-hand side of this picture behind the right clavicle. It was originally reported as a shoulder injury and a clavicular injury, and given the anatomy in this region, it is easy to understand where the confusion occurred. This is not a common area to fracture, so I give the Warriors a “10” for originality.
Costal cartilage fractures can take four to twelve weeks to heal. This prolonged healing time is related to the limited blood flow in cartilage and different people heal at different rates. The main issue is one of inflammation and pain tolerance. Chronic inflammation can also occur and is given a name in honor of the person who first described it. Tietze Syndrome or costochondritis -which is chronic inflammation of the costal cartilage.
While I would say Looney’s NBA finals are over for this year, he should be ready to play by the time the new season starts in the fall.
Questions and comments?
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