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 10/8/2017
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.