The ribs are the skeletal protection for the lungs and the chest cavity. The ribs and rib muscles expand and contract with normal breathing.
Review Date 12/9/2019
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.