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Tkart magazine

The Expert Advices | Protect your ribs in karting to prevent injuries

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11 March 2019

Karting is a very challenging sport which requires a considerable physical effort, a lot of concentration, endurance and a good dose of tolerance to pain. Driving a kart is certainly not amongst the most comfortable undertakings one can experience, and aches and injuries are very frequent. In particular, almost all kart drivers, sooner or later, have to deal with rib pain: a particularly delicate area of the body which needs to be properly protected and which, if injured, must not be neglected.

1 Why are injuries to the ribs so frequent amongst kart drivers?

The reason is simply said. Karts, as known, do not have a suspension and the driver is stuck in a fiberglass seat which wraps the bust.

Basically, it is as if kart and driver are forming a rigid system in which the most fragile part is the very driver himself. Consequently, every jolt, every track ledge touched, any contact at all…ends up unloading on the rib area.
As a consequence, any pain that affects this part of the body results to be quite bothersome and should be carefully evaluated both before starting any medical treatment and, especially, before getting behind the wheel again.


2 Let us start with minor injuries.

Even before the injury, one must consider one thing: in a sport like karting, the torso of the driver, in addition to be subjected to the stresses caused by the rigid seat, must make a considerable muscular effort to look for stability since he is not helped by elements like, for example, seat belts. The pain that one can normally feel to the ribs after driving, therefore, is a mixture of microtraumas and normal muscular pain. Something that a little rest and, at most, an anti-inflammatory can take care of.

3 What about if the pain does not go away?

If one continues to feel pain, there may be a periostitis, that is an inflammation of the ribs’ periosteum, a fibrous tissue which serves as a point of attachment of the muscles to the rib cage bones. It is caused both by the continuous traumas from the seat and by rapid and violent contraction movements of the muscle made to control the torso. Generally, it is a well- localized pain, but it can also cause discomfort while breathing. Anti-inflammatory medications have good results on this type of issues. In worst cases, local infiltrations can be made. A complete recovery occurs in 10-15 days.

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