Home Forums General Karting Discussion Need Help..Padding for Ribs

This topic contains 19 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Wade Wishneski 2 years, 6 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #48903

    Nick Feczko
    Participant

    I’ve struggled with battered ribs for the a few seasons now.  Just when I thought I had it under control the issue pops up again. I’m happy with my rib vest and think I can get by with my standard OTK seat.

    My question is if anyone has had success with the Shocktec products (www.kemmlerproducts.com).  If anyone uses a product similar I’m all ears.  Does anyone have any experience with this product or something similar that they could share?

     

    Thanks

     

  • #48910

    Walt Gifford
    Participant

    Ditch the otk seat and get a ribtech or deep seat end of problem.

    Gif

    FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
    Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
    Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
    41 years karting experience

  • #48954

    TJ Koyen
    Moderator

    Nick,

    After racing with messed up ribs for 2 seasons now, I have become an expert on the topic. I originally popped them at Beaverun and every race since then, I’ve been in pain from practice session one, regardless of rest time in between race events.

    First off, Walt is right. A DeepSeat or RibTect will make a world of difference. But I can understand if you want to hold out and try and get by with your OTK seat.

    I have used the Shocktec stuff and it works well but the thing with all these foams is where you place them to absorb the blows.

    A little background on what we are trying to do when we pad the ribs. I’m assuming like me, you’ve probably torn your intercostal muscles, which are the muscles between the ribs that hold them in place. For me, it’s on the back left side of my rib cage. Remember that ribs are floating so the only thing keeping them together are the muscles and cartilage between them. I have re-injured mine almost every race for the past 2 years and so for me, it’s all scar tissue there holding my ribs together, and it’s weaker every time I hurt them. The doctor told me I probably would never be pain free again.

    For the most part I’ve been able to get by with creative usage of padding, some strong Aleve, ice, and just gritting my teeth.

    Basically, what you want BEFORE you are injured is a firmer padding like the Shocktec stuff. I also have some surgical gel pads that I have taped into my ribvest which really absorb energy. However, all that firm padding is useless once you are hurting. At that point, it’s time to start softening the blow as much as possible. At Mooresville for the opening USPKS race, I was in a ton of pain on Friday and was almost positive I wasn’t going to make it through the weekend. With my injury being on the back side of my ribs, it’s painful for me to just sit in the kart and every time I breathed it would hurt, I would wince, it would tense up and then it would hurt again. I tried every padding combo I could think of; placing it in my seat, my vest, and swapping them around but nothing really helped. I finally found some padding I had used a long time ago to tape up and make into a rain racing booster in my seat to sit on. I ripped it apart and there was some really soft foam padding in there. The kind of padding that sometimes comes in “waffle” shape, but this was just flat. I don’t really know the technical name for it, but it looks like this kind of:

    It fixed everything. Honestly, went from intolerable pain to almost no pain. The trick though is to put it against your ribs. So I took out my surgical padding from my vest and folded this foam in half and taped it directly into my vest, right on top of my ribs where I was feeling pain. It’s way less dense so folding it in half seems like it’s thick but it’s like having a big fluffy pillow in your vest. Mine goes all the way across my back so there’s no pressure points. Then, I have placed the firmer padding in the seat, across the back and on the sides. The soft foam in my vest dissipates most of the original force and the firmer padding helps keep bolts and stuff from hurting. I tried it reverse, with soft padding in the seat and firm in my vest, and it didn’t help. Placing the soft padding in the vest fixed everything.

    Pressure points are the killer. I’ve tried all the vests you can think of. Some have plates that don’t go far enough around my back and they end up creating a pressure point right on my injured ribs. I have found the best vest so far is the Bengio Bumper, which I’ve just gotten recently and it fits better and helps soften the pain better than the Ribtect and FreeM I had previously been using. It has a soft memory foam padding that extends the full width of the vest so there’s no pressure points. The DeepSeat and Ribtect seat both work to alleviate pressure points as well. The sides are rounded so they fit the curve of your ribs better and dissipate energy around your rib cage rather than in one spot. If you look at the sides of a standard seat, they have a pretty sharp transition from back to front and also from top to bottom at the waist of the seat.

    I’m so confident in my new little padding set up that I am going to be trying to run an OTK seat again this weekend rather than the DeepSeat I was using.

    Obviously the other thing you can do is fitness. Anything that’s going to work your core will help build up some natural padding and strength to keep off your ribs. You can’t really work out your intercostal muscles very well, but you can work the areas around your rib cage to help keep off your ribs. Your serratus muscles (right under your armpit) can help keep you off your ribs, so I try to work them out a bit, as well as general core work, and some back work, which can also keep your posture better in the kart and strengthen the areas around the back of your rib cage.

    Hopefully that helps, if you have questions about anything don’t hesitate to let me know. I’ve pretty much tried every padding, vest, seat, pain relief out there and like I said, I’ve fought separated ribs for two years and even cracked ribs on the right side trying to keep off my ribs on the left side too. And it sucks because there’s nothing you can do really to help once they are hurt. They need to heal naturally and it hurts like crazy.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
    Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
    www.facebook.com/oktanevisual
    www.instagram.com/oktanevisual

  • #48959

    Walt Gifford
    Participant

    TJ, Where did you get your Bengio Bumper?

    FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
    Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
    Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
    41 years karting experience

  • #48966

    Jim Derrig
    Participant

    the stuff TJ pictured uses an “egg crate” pattern and is frequently used as sound damper in recording studios.  You can get the pattern in a lighter foam, but the real sound damper foam is denser and probably would make a good side padding.  You can find it online all over.

  • #48974

    David Galownia
    Participant

    Hey Nick,

    I had a number of rib problems last year and a couple times contemplated bailing mid race because of the pain.  The winter has healed me up but also led me to search out new methods of protection.

    So far this season I’ve raced 5 times and my ribs feel great.  I’m using this stuff:

    http://www.speedwaymotors.com/Zoombang-ZB-6002FRB-Seat-Padding-Rib-Pads,44570.html

    I run a Tonykart with an OTK seat and I had a problem in my upper ribs as the seat seems to “flair out” at the top. I wouldn’t be pressed against the sides so I’d bang back and forth.   Currently I use the pads on the upper sides of the seat so I’m locked in and only get “pressed” to the sides.  They dissipate the force pretty well so I’m happy so far.

     

     

     

  • #48982

    Mike Berube
    Participant

    +1 for the Bengio Bumper….Solved my rib pain issue. Not very popular in the U.S., but used in Europe and Australia. I purchased mine through Pure Karting.

  • #48987

    Nick Feczko
    Participant

    Thank you for all the feedback. This helps a lot.

    Sounds like I have a similar situation to you TJ. I broke my rib a few years ago and been struggling ever since. The pressure is what really causes the problems. All my problems are isolated to the ribs that press up against the seat strut hardware. That is why I am looking at a padding combination vs. a deepseat/ribtec seat.

    I’m glad you’ve dialed in a solution to reduce the pressure. I will definitely give this a shot. Think you hit the nail on the head with securing the pad across the whole rib cage. I am going to try and wrap this stuff across the length of my rib vest.

    Thanks again for all the responses. Nothing more annoying than a nagging rib injury.

     

     

     

  • #48988

    Nick Feczko
    Participant

    I’ve done a lot of research lately on rib injuries and possible exercises to strengthen the intercostal muscles like you mentioned TJ. Problem is you cannot really isolate this muscle group making it hard to build up the area. If you notice the back of your rib cage does not have much muscle covering it, making it difficult to protect against excessive force.

    I did side planks and specific exercises to target this area for about a month straight and didn’t see a change on track (comfort wise). That was my plan A to fix my rib problem. Now I am on to plan B which is the padding.

    Just my two cents on the topic.

  • #48989

    TJ Koyen
    Moderator

    Walt,

    I ordered mine off eBay as I couldn’t find an American distributor for them. I think they are working on that though.

    I’ll update after this weekend and see how the new Bengio holds up in the standard seat.

    In response to David’s post about the Zoombang pads; I also have some of those I’ve used in the back of the seat with good results. I tried to wear the Zoombang shirt but it protects the sides of the ribs more than the back and I found it to place pressure directly on my injury when I wore it.

    Also just wanted to clarify I am not using actual egg crate pattern foam like that, I’m just using the same consistency and density of foam. Mine is flat. But it’s the same thing and I’m sure the egg crate pattern stuff would work just as well.

    I was honestly so surprised the first time I sat in the kart with that padding in my vest. No pain for the first time in 2 years. And keep in mind I was already hurting really badly at this point so it helped quite a bit. Had I started the weekend with that foam, I’m sure I would’ve felt fine all weekend.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
    Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
    www.facebook.com/oktanevisual
    www.instagram.com/oktanevisual

  • #49276

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    Hey everybody. I’m glad I found this topic. I’ve once again found myself having rib issues as  well. I’m a relatively new karter (since last October) and had a major rib bruising issue all ’round after the first day in my new (used) kart. The Ribtect seat from the previous owner was way too large and I had no idea so after 100+ laps… I was hurting and wasn’t in the kart again for 8 weeks. Put in a smaller seat, but still it wasn’t small enough. My ribs on the lower front side were pretty sore, but went away after about a week. I put in yet ANOTHER smaller seat and it seems to fit significantly better. I’m currently wearing a Ribtect4 vest with this 3rd seat (bare seat) and there doesn’t seem to be any real wiggle room.

    This past Sunday I went out and did another 80-90 laps and the pain in the lower front ribs came back again. I’m pretty sure I’ll be out of the kart for at least 2-3 weeks now. I’m frustrated because I think I managed to re-aggravate the injury from the session in my 2nd seat since everything else feels just fine. I can see that the part of my ribs that hurt matches up with the edge of the outer curved plastic part of the Ribtect vest. I was wondering if it was causing pressure to not be distributed properly. After reading comments above, it sounds like I may have a pressure point issue there.

    I’m not 100% sure if the Bengio Bumper would resolve the pressure point issue. I also wonder if biting the bullet on a Ribtect seat would work wonders in the end. Currently I’m just running a ‘budget’ Righetti seat from Acceleration Karting.

    I really want to resolve this issue as fast as possible because:
    A) I don’t want to end up with chronic rib problems
    B) It really takes the enjoyment out of running the kart when you start feeling the pain… not to mention watching your lap times drop as a result!

  • #49293

    FREDDY SANDOVAL
    Participant

    Just buy carpet padding, and patio carpet (grey or black boat carpet) from lowes or home depot, buy a tube of yellow  weather strip glue, buy a razor blade.

    Cut to fit pieces to make your seat a 1/4 padded seat, glue foam padding to seat so that it will stay on the seat first while you work on wrapping the carpet around the padding and roll it over the inside lip of the seat edges, your carpet should be about 1 inch to 1 1/2 longger than the foam. Drill the holes through the carpet, the same place they were. Re install the seat after drying off glue, tighten all bolts. That puppy will look factory quality when done.

    And live happily ever after.  FastFreddy.  ;)

     

  • #49299

    TJ Koyen
    Moderator

    Bruising isn’t the worst thing, that probably just means you have a pressure point somewhere. As soon as you start separating ribs, that’s when you start to have real issues.

    When you separate your ribs, you actually are tearing the muscles that hold your ribs together, and every time they “heal” they fill in with scar tissue, making them weaker than before and easier to injure.

    That’s what happened with me. I tore my intercostals and every time I got into a kart from that point on, I was re-injuring myself because they kept getting weaker and weaker as the scar tissue built up. So now, it takes about 1-2 sessions before I’m in serious pain because I have no muscle holding my ribs together, just scar tissue. Doesn’t matter if I take 2 weeks or 6 months off.

    This past weekend was my first event using a standard OTK seat and my new Bengio Bumper and I experienced zero pain all weekend.

    Another thing that I’ve found helped me was going to the track twice a week and pounding just enough laps to feel some pain and then going home and icing my ribs. I did that all year last year and I think it helped break down the scar tissue. Every time I went, I was able to do more and more laps without pain. By the end of the year I was feeling much better and was able to get back into a standard seat. I know going to the track that often isn’t a possibility for everyone though.

    Nick D.,

    Regarding your bruising… I wore a Ribtect vest last year, coupled with a Ribtect seat, and actually cracked a rib on the front right, where the vest edge pressed into my ribs. I think this was mostly because I was leaning off my left side, where my separated ribs were, and putting more pressure on that area. I added some padding into the vest in that area but it was too late at that point, the damage was done. But those hard plated rib vests can really dig in and hurt if you find a pressure point. The Bengio seems to have good padding all around and doesn’t dig into the ribs as hard. I don’t think my cracked rib was a reflection of the Ribtect vest or seat, I think it was just a weird freak incident because I was leaning strangely to get off my already injured left side.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
    Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
    www.facebook.com/oktanevisual
    www.instagram.com/oktanevisual

  • #49313

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    I hopped in my seat last night just to try to see if I could locate the source of the pain. I think it was actually due to the seat mounting hardware on the right side. Although the mounting screw does have the mounting hardware on it to protect against suit wear, I think that this was causing a pressure point when pushing against my rib vest. I think haven’t seen this issue on my left side since the track I’ve been driving at doesn’t really have any high-speed right hand turns, but does have 2-3 high-speed left hand turns, which would cause me to really push up against that one spot.

    I dug up a spare Tillet T8 seat that has carpeted sides and added a little bit of 1/2″ padding on each side down by the hips and legs to keep me snug. When I sit in the seat with my vest on, it seems to fit pretty snug. The seat definitely sticks to me if I stand up (seat isn’t mounted yet). I’m thinking maybe the carpeted padding on both sides will prevent the seat hardware from digging in since it would be lower than the carpeting AND that since the carpeting runs the length of the rib area, maybe this will help to more evenly distribute pressure when turning.

    Any credence to this theory? Also, I should’ve mentioned before I’m just over 5’10” @ 145lbs so I’m on the smaller side.

  • #49342

    TJ Koyen
    Moderator

    Sounds about right.

    I’m 5’7″, 130lbs. We skinny guys don’t have the built-in padding we need.

    Seat should be snug enough that when you take a deep breath it just starts to flex the sides of the seat.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
    Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
    www.facebook.com/oktanevisual
    www.instagram.com/oktanevisual

  • #49410

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    TJ – I’ll have to sit in the Tillet again to see if it flexes. I know it fits snug, but I’m not sure if it’s so snug that it starts to flex the seat if I take a deep breath.

  • #49488

    Nick Feczko
    Participant

    Tj,

    Is the Bengio the real deal or would a deepseat/ribtec be the better solution? After a painful outing today I probably will buy one or the other.

  • #49498

    TJ Koyen
    Moderator

    Nick,

    I have tried the old Tillett P1 vest, the FreeM vest, the Ribtect vest, and the Bengio. The Bengio is the only one that has eliminated rib pain completely. It has proper memory foam padding unlike the others. I’ve only worn it a couple times but I’ve been thoroughly impressed. Both times I’ve had no pain at all, and usually it hurts to just sit in the kart even with one of the other vests on.

    When I’m really hurting, I run my vest and the DeepSeat together and that pretty much lets me race pain-free in any condition. The seat makes a big difference if you’re hurting badly.

    Bottom line, I would definitely recommend the Bengio Bumper as a vest and if that isn’t enough, buy yourself a DeepSeat. I raced in Dallas at SKUSA last year with separated ribs on the left side and cracked ribs on the right side. I was using a modded Ribtect vest with gel padding added and a DeepSeat. It was a million degrees and the most rubber I’ve ever seen in my life. It hurt a lot, but I was able to finish the weekend. If I would’ve had the Bengio then, I think I would’ve been in better shape.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
    Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
    www.facebook.com/oktanevisual
    www.instagram.com/oktanevisual

  • #54744

    Jeff Stamper
    Participant

    Ribtect Flush seat mounting kit ! End of problem, $89 and worth twice the money. I had all the problems you guys describe until I put this kit in. It also saves those brand new drivers suits

  • #58026

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    Regarding the Ribtect seat, both the carbon and the standard fiberglass Ribtect, does anyone know the flex of the seat?  Is it a soft, medium, or stiff seat?

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.