A rib support is an orthopedic device in the form of an elastic strap that can help to reduce pain from injuries such as a chest muscle strain or fractured ribs. These supports are also called rib belts or abdominal binders. Yet another name for this product is a rib binder.
A rib support works by limiting movement of the chest. By limiting movement in this way, it can reduce pain you may experience from the chest wall and rib cage. It stabilizes the rib cage after injury or surgery, reducing the risk of further pain or damage. It allows your ribs to heal using a combination of compression therapy and mild support.
Another use for a rib belt is holding dressings in place after you have undergone surgery in the ribcage area (thoracic surgery). Patients in hospital sometimes wear a rib binder as part of their post op rehabilitation.
The best rib supports will contour to your body for maximum comfort but will also impose only minimal interference with your breath. This is important. If you are unable to breathe properly with your rib belt on (or if you are able to breathe deeply but choose not to) it can impair healing and increase your risk of developing pneumonia.
The best rib support will also be low profile and allow you to easily wear it under regular clothing. If you can wear your rib belt at work, home and while performing all your regular activities, your compliance will be high. This means that your therapeutic outcome will likely be favorable.