Humans have 24 ribs, or twelve pairs, that help protect vital organs and aid in the contraction and expansion of the thorax when breathing. Of the twelve pairs, the first seven are deemed “true ribs” meaning each one has an individual cartilaginous attachment to the sternum. The last five pairs of ribs are “false ribs” because they either share a connection to the sternum or are floating ribs, meaning they only have a connection to the spine.
Because of the integral role ribs play in everyday functions such as breathing, coughing, and laughing, any injury to them can take several weeks to heal. The area can’t be permanently stabilized as in the case of a broken arm in a cast because the intercostal muscles that are in between the ribs are utilized with the above mentioned actions and are thus always in motion.
Applying kinesiotape can help add support and stability to the ribs without compromising their function. Depending on your comfort level with taping, KT Tape and Rocktape provide different methods. The former uses four regular strips that is easier to handle and apply while the latter involves a fan-like approach to tape the ribs.