Hello everyone! I am a new karter in Colorado, and since taking delivery of my KA100 I’ve managed to turn about ~150ish laps in the last two weeks. Two full practice days, a short practice day, and then a race day as well. I am having some issues with pain in the lower front left of my rib cage, and was hoping to get some advice from those who have been down the same road!
After my second practice day, I began to notice a specific point of pain in my ribs on the lower front left of my rib cage. I am currently wearing a FreeM aluminum protector (size 2, I have a 40" chest). The issue persisted through my third practice day and also the race day. The right side of my ribs, while a little sore, are doing much better. This could partly be because the track we were at is clockwise with lots of high speed right turns (turn 1 is about 3 seconds of 1.7g sustained at 55mph).
However, I also noticed recently that there is a part of my rib cage on my left hand side that “sticks out” a bit more than on the right, and this area is where the pain on my left side is originating from. I have included a sexy picture for your entertainment. The area circled in black pen is where my ribs stick out a bit, and it’s where I am getting sore from the FreeM.
Unfortunately, this area is just about right where the leading edge of the FreeM is at, so it doesn’t seem like an easy “remove padding from this area” modification (at least to the FreeM). I’ve gone ahead and ordered a low profile seat bolt kit to see if that can help reduce any potential pressure points, but I feel like it’s the one-piece nature of the side panel on the FreeM that cause the side pressure to be translated to that raised area on the front of my ribs.
I have started looking around for rib vests that either may not wrap around as far in the front, or that wouldn’t translate pressure on the sides to pressure on the front as significantly as the FreeM. It seems like the ribtect vests (specifically the original vest) may be the way to go, as the side protection is not all one piece, so I can’t see pressures on the side translating as harshly into the raised area on the lower left front of my ribs. How is the comfort and protection of the original ribtect? Based on the issues I have described, does it seem like a choice worth trying?
Does anyone else here have asymmetrical ribs, or a side of their rib cage that sticks out more than the other side? Did you have pain only on that side when karting, and if so, how were you able to remedy the situation? I think it’s an isolation game of making sure that small area doesn’t take the majority of the blows from pressure on the left side of the seat. I am in a Compkart seat, size 4 and it is snug with my FreeM vest on but not tight. I did the first two practice days in a T8 that was too small for me (kinda tough to breathe), so that may have contributed to the issue a bit at the start (some soreness in sternum), but the soreness in my lower left ribs feels due to a pressure point from my rib vest and/or seat hardware, as that area where my ribs stick out a bit is the area that is the most sore.
Absolutely LOVING karting so far (and the Colorado group of racers is FANTASTIC!!!), but not a huge fan of this pain! It’s definitely an issue I need to resolve before I get back in the kart. I could tell it was holding back my pace from about halfway through practice 2 onward. Hoping I’m not the only freak with some ribs that stick out, and someone has been through this before and can steer me in the correct direction.
Thank you all for your help, and I very much look forward to being involved in the KartPulse community!