Description

The articulations of the cartilages of the true ribs with the sternum are arthrodial joints, with the exception of the first, in which the cartilage is directly united with the sternum, and which is, therefore, a synarthrodial articulation. It forms the sternocostal joints. The ligaments connecting them are:

  • The Articular Capsules.
  • The Radiate Sternocostal
  • The Interarticular Sternocostal
  • The Costoxiphoid

The Articular Capsules (capsulæ articulares; capsular ligaments).—The articular capsules surround the joints between the cartilages of the true ribs and the sternum. They are very thin, intimately blended with the radiate sternocostal ligaments, and strengthened at the upper and lower parts of the articulations by a few fibers, which connect the cartilages to the side of the sternum.

Synovial Membranes.—There is no synovial membrane between the first costal cartilage and the sternum, as this cartilage is directly continuous with the manubrium. There are two in the articulation of the second costal cartilage and generally one in each of the other joints; but those of the sixth and seventh sternocostal joints are sometimes absent; where an interarticular ligament is present, there are two synovial cavities. After middle life the articular surfaces lose their polish, become roughened, and the synovial membranes apparently disappear. In old age, the cartilages of most of the ribs become continuous with the sternum, and the joint cavities are consequently obliterated.

Movements.—Slight gliding movements are permitted in the sternocostal articulations.


This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from http://www.bartleby.com/107/).

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