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What is a Sternum Bone?

IVSAT 2024

The word sternum refers to the chest, and if you carefully look at the structure of the sternum or breastbone, it looks like a necktie. The human body is a complex structure, and it contains a lot of bones, muscles, and other organs. The sternum location is between the chest and, therefore, also known as the breastbone. Sternum plays a significant role in protecting all the organs near the torso area and also is a connection point of several bones and muscles.

In this article, we have discussed the structure of sternum along with its anatomy and functions.

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Structure and Anatomy of Sternum 

The structure of the sternum contains the following three sternum parts.

  • Manubrium: the first part of the sternum is the manubrium, which is the top part and includes your collar bone. At this, the top most ribs connect, and the bottom of the Manubrium shares a border with the other parts of the sternum. At the bottom of it, your second set of ribs of your body also connects. 

  • Body: the middle part of the sternum is also known as the body, and it’s the longest part. It connects with manubrium at the top and the Xiphoid process at the bottom. You have often heard the word cartilage that is present in this part of the sternum, and here your third set of ribs to the seventh set connects with the help of cartilage. 

  • Xiphoid process: the bottom part of the sternum is known as the Xiphoid process. The shape of this part can differ from individual to individual, and as your age increases, the Xiphoid process of the sternum slowly begins to calcify. 

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Functions of Sternum

One of the significant functions of the sternum is to protect lungs, blood vessels, and heart from any kind of injury, and it’s one of the longest and largest flat bones present in our body. There are major two functions of the sternum in our body, and those are as follows.

  • Support: one of the most significant functions of the sternum is providing support to the chest and upper abdomen of our body. It provides support to the rib cage, and collar bone of your body, and many other parts of your skeleton system. 

  • Protection: the sternum is present in the centre of your chest, and there are many organs near these areas, such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, etc., so it protects them from all kinds of injury.


When Can the Sternum Break?

Many times it even happens that a break in the sternum can cause a lot of health problems. Most of the time, it’s noticed that the break can cause trouble related to different issues in the chest. Some of the causes of the broken sternum are as follows. 

  • Car Accidents: car accidents can be a major reason for broken of the sternum, and it can be caused by multiple reasons such as high-impact sports, falling from a large height, and other reasons. 

  • Other Reasons:- Another reason for a sternum is postmenopause, having osteoporosis, and adults have more chances of these problems. 

Did You know?

There are many bones inside our body that we can feel by touching it and Sternum is one of them. It’s lying between your chest, and you can feel it with your fingers, and it’s a flat bone in the centre of your torso. The large dip present in the neck of humans is known as a jugular notch.

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FAQs on Sternum

1. What are the symptoms of a broken sternum?

The sternum of our body continuously moves with the rib cage whenever we breathe. If you feel some kind of pain in the chest, there is a possibility that your sternum is broken. The pain of the chest becomes worse while coughing, laughing, and even if we take deep breaths. The sternum is one of the important bones of our body, and if there is some issue in the chest, then lifting heavy objects and even moving arms become difficult.

2. How to diagnose a broken sternum?

If you feel any kind of pain or even if you’re suspected to have a sternal fracture, seeing a doctor is a necessity, as the sternal angle can be damaged. They tell you if you’re needing surgery or not and help you to cut down further damage. If you’re ignoring the sternal fracture, it can become a chest trauma in a later stage; therefore, it’s important to consult a doctor, and most of the time, initial treatment is done by medical professionals. When you visit the doctor, most of the time, they take the X-ray or CT scan of your chest and, after evaluating your condition, then treat you accordingly.

3. How does a broken sternum be treated?

When you visit the doctor, they carefully examine your situation, and according to your situation, they tell you the treatment and even recommend you to rest and heal the pain. If your sternum is fractured then, there are chances that your chest area becomes swollen, and you even feel the pain. The doctor gives you pain control and other medicines according to your condition, and if the condition is severe, then surgery is even required.

4. How long does it take to recover from a sternum fracture?

Most of the time, it’s noticed that it almost takes 10 to 11 weeks to recover from a sternum fracture in most people, but it could differ according to the condition of the patients. In the case of surgery, it takes longer, and you can follow a few things to avoid chest pain:-

  • You should avoid cough medicines during the healing time. 

  • If you have a coughing issue, then you should give support to the chest wall while coughing. 

  • Taking continuous deep breaths throughout the entire day can also help in reducing chest pain.  

When you leave the hospital after your treatment, and if you feel any kinds of chest pain, coughing, or breathing issues, then you should immediately contact your doctor to avoid any kinds of complications. Many people also consider physical therapy after recovery from the fracture because they feel stiffness in their arms, spine, or even shoulder to avoid any further complications. Sternum bone is one of the significant parts of our skeleton system. Therefore it’s important to properly take care of your sternum during any injury to remain safe and healthy.

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