Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been hospitalized with three broken ribs. Ginsburg–all-around political (not to mention fitness) badass, if we may add–is said to have fallen in her office Wednesday evening.
Although she was able to return home after her fall, nighttime discomfort sent 85-year-old Ginsburg to George Washington University Hospital Thursday morning, the New York Times reported.
According to the Times, the Supreme Court is next scheduled to convene on November 26, leaving Ginsburg some time to recover before heading back to work. As you might remember, this isn’t her first time facing down a rib fracture: She cracked two in June 2012–and didn’t miss any work. Heck, the woman returned to work less than three weeks after having cancer surgery!
So what kind of recovery is Ginsburg facing this time around? Most broken ribs heal just fine on their own–at home–in around six weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic. Unlike with, say, a broken arm, cracked ribs won’t garner anyone a sling or a cast, but Ginsburg likely needs to limit certain activities to speed healing. That can be tricky, considering actions as simple and as necessary as taking a deep breath or bending or twisting can worsen the pain. Depending on how severe that discomfort is, doctors might recommend applying ice and over-the-counter or prescription pain medications.
In some cases, broken ribs can lead to complications like a punctured lung or–if the pain keeps a person from breathing deeply–lung infections like pneumonia. Doctors often coach patients with rib fractures through breathing exercises that can help prevent infections–and, in fact, returning to certain everyday activities once the pain is under control can be a key part of recovery, according to Mount Sinai.
It will likely take some time until Ginsburg is cleared to get back to those push-ups she’s famous for. But her impressive exercise routine is one of the best ways to help ward off age-related health issues, including osteoporosis, which could put someone at higher risk of breaking a rib or other bones. In the meantime, we’re doing a set of push-ups in her honor–and wishing her a speedy recovery.
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