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Anatomy Of The Human Rib Cage

By Jayton Miller

Known as the protector of some of the most vital organs in the human body, the ribcage is a supportive structure that is worth knowing about. Here is everything you need to know about the anatomy of the ribcage.


General Function Of The Ribcage:

General Function Of The Ribcage

Also known as the torso or trunk, the ribcage is supported by 12 vertebrae in the spine. It is mostly used as a protective structure of the vital organs of the thoracic cavity, as well as being a place of attachment for muscles of the back, chest, and shoulders.

There are 12 pairs of ribs that are grouped together based on their front side attachment sites:

  • The True Ribs - Also known as the vertebrosternal ribs, this group consists of the first seven pairs of ribs that attach directly to the sternum with costal cartilages.
  • The False Ribs - There are two subgroups of ribs in this group the vertebrochondrial ribs (rib pairs 8-10) that are connected to the sternum indrectly by fused costal cartilages and the vertebral or “floating” ribs (rib pairs 11 and 12) that do not attach to the sternum and instead have ends buried in the lateral abdominal wall.

The ribcage also includes the sternum which includes a few different parts:

  • Manubrium - This is the site of the ribcage that the clavicles attach to, as well as the first costal cartilage
  • Sternum Body - This is actually a fusion of four separate bones that come together as we age and develop. If you feel carefully you can feel the ridges where this came together on yourself.
  • Xiphoid Process - The lowest bone of the three that make up the sternum. If you have ever been a part of contact sports, the xiphoid process that lies at the low end of the sternum is most common site of injury. Also known as a “cracked” sternum.

Read More: The Importance of Breathing: How To Breathe Properly

Ribcage Challenges - Common Ailments of The Ribs:

Rib Cage Malfunctions

The rib cage is an area that has potential to face a lot of damage. There are also various conditions that can develop with the ribcage and cause pain as well such as:

  • fibromyalgia
  • intercostal neuralgia
  • slipping rib syndrome
  • rheumatoid conditions
  • injuries

When it comes to the injuries of the rib cage, fractures and bruised ribs are very common. If you have a suspicion that your ribs are injured or one of the injuries above have occurred then seek help from a medical professional.

Read More: Is Stretching Useless?

How To Keep Your Ribcage Healthy:

How To Keep Your Ribcage Healthy

Eating a healthy diet is going to be crucial to support the proper health of the bones of the body overall. Eating a sufficient amount of calcium, getting enough vitamin k, vitamin d, and magnesium with help keep your bones healthy and strong.


The ribcage is an important part of the human body. It plays a role in the protection of most of the vital organs, provides structure for many pathways in the thoracic cavity, and plays role in breathing. Injuries of the ribs are not that common but do occur, taking steps to keep your bones healthy can help mitigate the potential for possible injury to keep your ribcage healthy for the rest of your life.