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Cracked my chest bone?!

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I was doing tricep dips off of a chair at home today and about halfway thorugh my first set, my chest cracked. I seriously thought I was having a heart attack and I freaked out. I obviously stopped right after that happened, but my chest is still in pain and I feel a sharp acute pain when I move my arms certain ways or shrug my shoulders.

Is it possible that I broke a bone? What should I do? I am staying with some relatives while my parents are out of the country so I can't even get their advice.

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I've felt that pain before. It takes a lot of force to break the sternum. If you actually broke it I think you'd be in a lot, lot more pain than you were. You could have injured your xiphoid process more likely. Give it a couple of days and if the pain is still very high then get it checked.

You should probably be checked out by a doc, but I think it's probably unlikely to be a broken bone.  However, I've heard of people dislocating ribs, or separating the cartilage where the rib meets the sternum.  It can be very painful and can happen from something like coughing, so I would guess it's possible to do it when exercising. 

I have a history with an eating disorder and my estrogen levels are still very low (my doc has me taking medication to help with that). It really makes me scared for my bone health. I guess my biggest worry is just that I have somehow endangered my heart or another surrounding muscle.

I don't have any swelling that's apparent right now, but moving my arms in a "breast stroke" swimming motion KILLS. Ugh. It almost feels like a spasam. Should I call the doctor if things get worse tomorrow? What exercises are still okay to do? Anything that doesn't make the pain worse?

No exercises are ok to do until it feels better, especially if you don't actually know what's wrong.


Again, if you fractured your sternum I imagine you would be in immense, immense pain. I have been present in open-heart surgeries where they crack your sternum open and it takes more than some force.

What about non-weight exercises such as running or walking? Are those alright to do as long as they don't intensify the pain?

Should be. As long as you're not putting stress on your sternum you should be fine. It's you who will know though, since you're the one in pain.

I have a long history of an eating disorder also and have diagnosed osteoporosis (-3.0 T score in spine from a dexa scan to give you an indication of the severity).  My osteoporosis is also due to other factors too.  Last November I strained a rib very badly while lifting weights.  I thought I had cracked it the pain was so bad.  I couldnt breath without pain.  I was terrified my bones were getting way too weak.  I went to several doctors and even had a chiropractor look at it and they were able to pinpoint that it was an intercostal muscle strain between two ribs that was swollen and sore, not the bone itself.  It really gave me peace of mind. I also had a bone scan that showed that although my osteoporosis is bad, my bone quality is still ok (I am still young at 39 so at least I have something going for me while I work to rebuild my bone density).  I was then able to focus on why I was straining muscles a lot (I also had low back soreness and hip pain) and with help determined that 1. my diet was lacking in protein 2. my thyroid levels were off a bit on the hypo side and I had my meds adjusted and 3. I was overdoing it with work, school, exercise, and lack of sleep and my body was trying to tell me to SLOW DOWN.  For six weeks I had to lay off most weight lifting and running (which caused tremendous pain in my sore rib area) and just focus on stretching and very light weights and rest while rebuilding my body by resting and tweaking my diet a little.  I feel much stronger now and have not been straining muscles but it took some serious patience and overcoming frustration at not being able to workout the way I wanted to.  I think it's always a good idea to have pain looked at by someone if it is interfering with your life in some way and especially if you have a history of anything that has compromised your bones.  Diagnosing over the internet is impossible. 

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This exact thing happend to me today it really hurts i was playing basketball and got rammed into both shoulders and somthing in my chest snaped i could even hear it!

Talk to a doctor, even if it heals, you need to know why it happened, and what to do to prevent it again.

I too have osteoporosis and last year while doing one of the weighted row machines at the gym the machine jarred against my chest suddenly and the pain was excruciating! I couldn't move or breathe without pain. Mum took me to the dr who said I had a strained muscle and gave me pain beds to take, but it got worse and I could not sleep lie down turn breathe without severe pain a week passed and she took me to a sports dr who sent me for an X-ray and I HAD broken my sternum clean through very uncommon the dr said he had never seen it before but I have very weak bones. Apparently it is the most painful break to do because you have to move it with every breath. So it can happen! My advice go straight to a sports dr if you can (and carry a pillow around because when you sneeze - I would compare it to being stabbed!) pillow helps breathing less painful if you press against it.
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