Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why is part of my ribcage sticking out?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy is part of my ribcage sticking out?


One of the ribs at the bottom of my ribcage is sticking out a little. It definitely is sticking out more on the one side than the other. What could cause this? It doesn't really hurt but it is freaking me out that it is different on one side.


Although we generally think of the two sides of our body as being exactly the same, this is not totally the case. If we look closely at the various parts of our body, it is common to notice small variations from side to side. For example, in women it is common for one breast to be larger than the other, and in men it is common for the testicles not be exactly the same. Similarly, it is generally totally normal for the ribs to appear slightly differently on one side than the other, and this is not generally a sign that something has gone wrong. Most of the time, differences in the ribs become more noticeable when people lose a bit of weight, allowing the ribs to stick out a bit more. All that being said, issues like these may or may not be concerning, depending on whether you have pain, swelling, or another more serious symptom. I recommend that you mention this to your primary care doctor; he or she can take a look and make sure everything is all right. In fact, these sorts of general questions are one of the main reasons to make sure that you go to your yearly physical check up!

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.