Flared Rib Cage

Flared Rib Cage: Understanding the Causes and Remedies


Having an uneven rib cage, characterized by a flared appearance, can be a source of discomfort and affect your breathing, posture, and self-confidence. This condition can stem from various causes, including trauma, birth defects, or rib cartilage deformities. In this article, we will explore the potential causes of an uneven rib cage and discuss exercises that may help alleviate the issue.

Causes of an Uneven Rib Cage

An uneven rib cage can arise from different factors, each with its own implications. Understanding the underlying causes can aid in determining the most appropriate course of action. Some common causes include:


If you have experienced trauma to your ribs, such as a break or sprain, it can lead to an uneven rib cage. In cases where significant time has passed since the incident, surgical intervention may be necessary to restore symmetry. However, if the injury is recent, seeking medical advice from a specialist can help assess the extent of your rib injuries and promote balanced healing.

Birth Defects

In some instances, an uneven rib cage may be present from birth, indicating a congenital birth defect. This can manifest as a missing rib or a naturally flared rib cage. If your rib cage causes distress or pain, it is essential to consult with your doctor to explore potential remedies.

Rib Cartilage Deformities

Certain deformities, such as pectus carinatum and pectus excavatum, affect approximately 1 in 1,500 children. These conditions cause the chest to bow outward or inward, respectively. While many cases of rib deformities can be corrected with a brace, more severe instances may require surgical intervention.

Muscle Weakness

In cases where the rib cage is slightly uneven or protruding, muscle weakness may be a contributing factor. Your abdominal muscles play a vital role in supporting and stabilizing the rib cage. Weaker muscles on one side of your body can cause that side of the rib cage to stick out or sit unevenly.


Individuals with scoliosis, characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine, may also experience uneven ribs. The spine’s atypical curve can lead to compensatory adjustments in other parts of the body, including the rib cage.

Exercises to Address an Uneven Rib Cage

For cases of mildly uneven ribs, medical professionals often recommend specific exercises to strengthen the muscles responsible for supporting the rib cage. These exercises aim to improve alignment and enhance breathing. It is crucial to consult with your doctor or a physical therapist before starting any new workout routine to ensure its suitability for your condition. Some exercises that may be beneficial include:

  • Yoga for Posture: Practicing yoga poses that focus on posture can help improve the alignment of your rib cage.
  • Abdominal Crunches: Strengthening your abdominal muscles can provide greater stability to the rib cage.
  • Ab Rollouts: This exercise targets the core muscles, including the abdomen, promoting balance and alignment.
  • Breathing Exercises: Focusing on deep breathing exercises can enhance rib cage mobility and promote proper respiratory function.
  • Pectoral Lifts: Strengthening the pectoral muscles can help support the rib cage and improve its symmetry.

Remember, your doctor or physical therapist may recommend additional exercises tailored to your specific needs. Proper form and technique are essential during exercise to prevent injury, so seek guidance to ensure you perform the exercises correctly.


While an uneven rib cage can be a source of concern, understanding its causes and available remedies can help address the issue. In cases where the condition is not severe and does not pose significant health risks, exercises and physical therapy may offer potential solutions. However, for more pronounced unevenness or cases resulting from serious trauma, surgical intervention or the use of corrective braces may be necessary. It is crucial to consult with medical professionals to determine the most appropriate course of action based on your individual circumstances. Remember, early intervention and seeking medical advice can significantly contribute to achieving a more balanced and comfortable rib cage.