How to not stress my injured ribs, large chest edition
May 20, 2015 10:34 AM   Subscribe

I have multiple injured ribs on my left side. All instructions on how to care for them involve avoiding weight and stress on them, and not binding them. How the heck do I do this with a J cup???

I occasionally get bronchitis and it can get pretty bad. In this case, I've cracked a few ribs from coughing. The bronchitis is mostly dealt with, but ribs take a while to heal. I'm trying to do this the best I can, but the whole chest thing is problematic. If I wear a bra, it binds directly on top of the damaged ribs and is painful. If I don't wear a bra (which is not an option if I plan on doing anything remotely active like walking) the weight is hanging right off those ribs. With ten-pound jubblies, this is arguably worse / more painful.

I need ideas on how not to hurt more than necessary while still being functional! My doctor and the google are at a loss as to how to avoid this problem, so I turn to you. Help me, MeFi!
posted by Gneisskate to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Would a halter top work?
posted by HotToddy at 11:02 AM on May 20, 2015

- Longline bras or a corset might hit low enough to not squeeze the injured ribs.
- Likewise low-back bra extenders to shift the strap lower on your torso.
- Adhesive bras or the creative use of wide surgical tape to support your chest from your shoulders.
posted by yeahlikethat at 11:06 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I was thinking something like this, in a knit, so that the band is not constricting.
posted by HotToddy at 11:07 AM on May 20, 2015

Could you do something with kenesiology tape ? I could sort of imagine a line of tape from round under the breast (both sides?) to over the top of the shoulder being supportive without squeezing any bits that you don’t want squeezed right now.
posted by pharm at 11:29 AM on May 20, 2015

Call a specialty lingerie shop (aka the place you already buy your bras, right? Fistbump, my J-cup sister) and ask what they would recommend. They are used to dealing with special challenges such as custom work and discrepancies, and they know how weight balances out.

I don't know what I would recommend -- maybe just padding under and around a normal bra on its loosest setting? The thing I would worry about most -- in addition to the inability to NOT wear a bra, and I feel you there -- is that if you try to do something too off-the-beaten-path, you'll just end up compensating so much that it will hurt something else.

Ribs are the absolute worst. I would probably just try to get some sort of pain reliever and wait it out. I'm so very sorry you're dealing with this!
posted by St. Hubbins at 11:51 AM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd go with a basque. I know they work well for some large-breasted women with fibromyalgia and other pain conditions. Not sure what band size you are, but in general, Goddess, Panache, Elomi, and Masquerade basques are all good choices.

I would recommend going up a band size, for comfort purposes, so that would bring your cup down to an HH (if we're doing UK sizing standards). For example, if you normal wear a 34J in UK brands (Cleo, Freya, etc), then you'd size up to a 36HH. This will expand your options - most brands top out at either a UK G cup or a UK HH cup. If you're a J cup in US brands (Wacoal, Goddess, Lane Bryant, etc), then that's a smaller size in UK brands anyway and will be easier to find.

What brand/style do you usually wear and what band size? Feel free to memail me too if you don't want to post it here.

(Sorry, I can't link to anything right now because I'm at work.)
posted by melissasaurus at 11:51 AM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Two layered camisoles under your regular clothes. Freedom to breathe, but with modesty coverage. Doable, cheap, and comfortable.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 12:24 PM on May 20, 2015

Response by poster: Sounds like more information would be helpful, so:

US size: 40J
UK size: 40GG

I usually get my bras from, in whatever brand happens to have my size. The latest would be Panache.

A halter top or camisole is not helpful, because they are incapable of support at this size. The weight still pulls at the torso.

Shape details: (maybe TMI, I don't know) large and pendulous. Most of the mass is below the mammary fold. They're about 10% of my body weight total. And yes, I dearly wish I could have reduction surgery but that's not an option. Insurance won't cover it for any reason and I can't afford it otherwise.
posted by Gneisskate at 2:40 PM on May 20, 2015

I've used Kenesiology tape for breast binding before, but my chest is pretty small (B or less) and I was aiming for "chest flattening" more than anything else. The tape'll start falling off by itself sooner or later, depending on what you're doing, but some people report being able to wear it for a few days at a stretch. It hurts to remove - I've ripped off skin before. It's not a great long term solution. I used to do it a few times a week to go rock-climbing and biking.

But a few pieces of tape, a couple inches long, from the underside of the breast to maybe collarbone height (or higher, maybe?) might be decent support. I also did a cole of pieces of tape from more towards the middle of my chest around to my side, which may or may not work in your situation.

I can't really speak to the long-term rib safety of it, though. It's pretty much a thing that cosplayers (and a handful of trans people) do for at most a few days at a time.
posted by you could feel the sky at 3:32 PM on May 20, 2015

I find that a shelf bra camisole gives just enough support that I can use it braless if I don't care what I look like. It's a lot less biding than a bra, though it might not give enough support in this case. (Maybe 2 would help.) A cami without a shelf bra is completely useless.

I'd also look into something bathing suit shaped, which give support but can be quite low backed even with standard over the shoulder straps.
posted by jeather at 4:52 PM on May 20, 2015

I'll echo melissasaurus and suggest a Basque/bustier that will transfer the weight of your boobs down to your hips instead of using the band around your rib cage for support. And I would also size up in the band (and therefore down in the cups) to a 42G (UK).

Here's one on figleaves, although I don't personally know anything about its fit. I had one similar ages ago, and had to sister size way up in the band because my belly is bigger than my underbust (34jj to I think 40g UK), and that was without rib problems.
posted by mgar at 6:53 PM on May 20, 2015

Just throwing out ideas, but when I was pregnant and having serious rib displacement pain/problems in addition to the pull of something really heavy (in this case my giant stomach) on my ribs, I would tightly wrap the whole thing stomach, ribs and chest in a long wrap or scarf or something to give my whole torso stability. I also had a band that I would put around my stomach and ribs - I could see something similar being available for chest and ribs too that restricts movement.
posted by Toddles at 9:41 PM on May 20, 2015

I fractured my sternum (the point of the underwire + seatbelt during a car crash). I found a super super tight athletic singlet was all I could bear the first few days and I wore one at night for a few weeks, since rolling over wiht J cups swinging around off a cracked sternum sucked hardcore. Ribs, on the side, are a bit different because the chest is where all the support comes from - maybe a singlet/cami will offer enough support without biting in.
posted by geek anachronism at 11:16 PM on May 20, 2015

Ok, for your size range, I'd look at the Elomi Smoothing Bustier (in 40GG) or Elomi Maria (in either 40GG or 42G).

In general, Elomi has slightly wider wires than Panache and slightly deeper cups, but they're pretty comparable. You can also find these styles on ebay for ~$40.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:44 AM on May 21, 2015

Oh god, I feel for you! I cracked two ribs once, and I wear a 38 H cup. What worked best for me was to wear my bra on the widest set of hooks, and then to use gaffers tape on the sides of my breasts toward my collarbone to help support their weight. Kinesiology tape would also work, if you have that.

Also, Vicodin.
posted by culfinglin at 9:22 AM on May 21, 2015

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