Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant Injury Discussion

The Golden State Warriors’ injured reserved list is getting long. Stephen Curry, ankles; Klay Thompson, thumb; Draymond Green, shoulder; and now add their other all-star Kevin Durant. He’s out for the next several weeks with a rib injury.

Rib injuries can be tricky. Rib injuries can fracture when there is a direct blow to the rib itself. Rib muscle strains or rib ligament sprains can occur from an overstretch that can cause the rib to be forced out of its normal position. Coughing or sneezing can cause ribs to be forced out of its normal position as well.

Rib injuries can be very painful initially, with pain breathing, coughing, sneezing, and even moving.


Anatomy Review:

Intercostal muscles are muscles that connect each individual rib to another rib. The ribs attach to the thoracic spine via ligaments, but the ribs attach to one another via the muscles.

The function of the intercostal muscles are to expand and compress the rib cage when breathing. There are three different sets of intercostal muscles.

External intercostals help with [forced] inhalation – helps elevate the rib cage
Internal intercostals help with [forced] expiration – helps compress the rib cage
Internal intercostals (2) composed of smaller muscles assists in expiration – helps compress the rib cage


What I Could Do:

In terms of rib injuries, there’s little you can do. Some chiropractors and manual therapist may adjust the thoracic spine and maybe the rib (depending on diagnostic imaging). Manual therapy can help in terms of working on the intercostal muscles to help alleviate pain.

Rib injuries can be a challenge since everyday activities such as breathing and laughing and spinal movement can cause pain, so pain mitigation will be important. The patient can receive TENS or E-stimulation to help with the pain. Manual therapy on the intercostals, via Active Release Technique, can be helpful too.

Last but certainly not least, stretching exercises via flexion/extension, lateral flexion, and rotational exercises can help with the pain. Breathing exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing is also an important piece in his rehabilitation because it relies less on the accessory muscles of breathing (which the muscles attach to every rib).


My Take:

For Mr. Durant the next few weeks are pain management and pain tolerance. There isn’t a whole lot he can do from a standpoint of rehabilitation. There’s some breathing exercises and light stretching of the thoracic spine he could do but it’s going to a healing process as the connective tissue heals.

Common remedies when dealing with rib injuries can involve chiropractic care. Others include ice, heat, potentially compression. TENS and electrical stimulation can be helpful remedies as well. Rib injuries can take an extended period of time because of the blood supply when it comes to muscles of the ribs. With a blood supply that’s not very robust, it does take longer for injuries to heal, furthermore, there’s more ligaments holding ribs in place and ligaments do not have the some blood supply as tendons since ligaments are not nearly the contractile units that tendons are.

He’ll be back for the playoffs and I don’t anticipate him missing a beat when he plays.

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