Sternum Popping: Should You Be Concerned?


The sternum, or breastbone, is a long, flat bone situated in the center of the chest. It’s an integral part of the human skeletal structure, connecting the rib bones via cartilage. The sternum serves as a protective barrier for vital organs, including the heart and lungs.

Commonplace as it might seem, the occurrence of peculiar sounds from the body can instigate curiosity and worry among many. Among these, the phenomenon of sternum popping is a subject that requires illumination.

What is Sternum Popping?


Sternum popping, also known as sternum clicking, refers to the situation when an individual hears a clicking or popping sound originating from the sternum area. The condition is more common than you might think, yet it is frequently overlooked due to the transient nature of the sound.

Causes of Sternum Popping

The reason behind this phenomenon can vary from individual to individual. One common cause is the movement of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the sternum. As this cartilage moves, it can create a popping or clicking sound, much like the sound your knuckles make when you crack them. Another cause could be Costochondritis, a condition in which the cartilage in the rib cage becomes inflamed, resulting in pain and possibly causing the sternum to pop.

Should You Be Concerned?

While a popping sternum can be unsettling, it’s usually not a cause for concern. The sound itself is typically harmless and doesn’t signify a serious medical issue. That being said, if the popping is accompanied by severe pain, swelling, difficulty breathing, or any other alarming symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention. It could indicate a more serious issue, such as an injury or a disorder like Tietze syndrome.

Consultation and Diagnosis

A healthcare professional can provide accurate information about your condition. If you’re worried about your sternum popping, they might perform a physical examination, discuss your medical history, or recommend imaging tests like an X-ray or CT scan.

Sternum Popping and Exercise


Physical activities like weightlifting, push-ups, or any strenuous exercise involving the upper body could potentially result in your sternum popping. This is typically due to the pressure and movement that these activities place on the chest area. While generally harmless, if you notice a persistent popping sound during your exercise routine, it might be worth bringing it up with your healthcare provider.

Treatment and Prevention

If your sternum popping is causing you discomfort or worry, there are a few steps you can take to mitigate it. Gentle stretching exercises can be beneficial, and maintaining a good posture can also help prevent unnecessary strain on your chest area. Avoid strenuous activities that put excessive pressure on the sternum and cause it to pop.

Managing Sternum Popping


When you notice your sternum popping, there are several practical steps you can take to manage this occurrence. First, try to track the instances when it happens most. This could help you identify activities that might be triggering it. It can be beneficial to note the intensity and frequency of the sternum popping.

Maintaining a Balanced Lifestyle

Your lifestyle can have an impact on your physical health, including conditions like sternum popping. For instance, maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and having a consistent sleep pattern can contribute to your overall well-being and possibly reduce instances of sternum popping. Ensuring that you are consuming enough calcium and Vitamin D, for instance, can support bone health.

The Role of Posture


Posture plays a vital role in the overall health of your skeletal system. Maintaining a good posture helps keep your body aligned, preventing undue pressure on certain areas, including the sternum. Slouching or hunching over can strain the chest area, potentially leading to sternum popping. Implementing posture-correcting exercises into your routine, and making conscious efforts to sit and stand straight, can help manage sternum popping.

The Takeaway

While sternum popping can cause some concern, understanding the condition can alleviate unnecessary worry. It’s essential to remember that sternum popping is usually harmless and only a cause for concern if accompanied by other severe symptoms. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, good posture, and regular check-ups can help maintain your health. If you are concerned about sternum popping, always consult with a healthcare professional for advice tailored to your specific needs.