Lump on Rib Cage: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

A lipoma is one of the most common causes of lump on rib cage. It can be felt under the skin and are usually painless. Learn more about what causes a lump on rib cage, symptoms, and treatment.

Man wearing white shirt hold side rib cage

Do you have a lump on the rib cage? Lumps can appear just about anywhere on the skin, and that includes a rib cage. Learn more about the condition including its symptoms, causes, and treatments. These are all critical issues to help you deal with the lump effectively. 

What Exactly Is the Rib Cage?

Human ribs partly enclose and protect a person’s chest cavity. There are several vital organs located inside the rib cage, including the lungs and heart. The rib cage is made up of single long/curved bones that are connected to the spinal cord by joints.

A total of 24 rib bones are connected at the chest. The ribs are secured to the body, but they allow some movement outwards. That helps to keep the chest stable when breathing. 

Lump On Rib Cage: Possible Causes

There are various conditions that people can have that involve the ribs. They include a lump on the rib cage. Some of the most common symptoms you might experience include:

  •  Mass
  • Swelling
  • Expansion
  • Pain

If you have these symptoms, then you should get it checked out. Many people are concerned that new skin growth is cancerous. There’s a chance it could be. However, in most cases growth is non-cancerous.

It’s important to note that it can be tough to detect cancerous growths. It’s not based on factors like the growth’s size, texture, or pain. If you notice new growths and it lasts several days, or its causing pain/discomfort then, you should consider having a doctor check it out.

There are various kinds of imaging tests that are done to diagnose different lumps. They include imaging tests like X-rays and others. A doctor might also order a biopsy to check the growth of cancer cells to. 

Rib Cage Lumps: Top Causes


This type of lump is less common. It is caused by a lump on nerve cells. Nerves are part of the central nervous system (CNS). 


A lump caused by an infection like cellulitis affects tissues in the area. Various factors like bacteria or viruses cause this type of lump. Check with your doctor as infections might worsen over time.


Various kinds of tumors show up in the chest/rib area. Some are cancerous, but most are non-cancerous.


Sometimes an injury in the chest or rib area can cause the lump. It is due to local swelling that can involve various factors like broken bones, bug bites, etc. If you have an injury in the region, you should also get a checkup so you’ll know if there’s any damage.

Bone Spur 

These are often hard/fixed, so they don’t move under the fingers and are tender. Bone spurs are usually smooth and can cause pain if it presses on other bones. Bone spurs can appear in various areas like ribs, shoulders, hips, knees, hands, and feet.


This is one of the most common explanations of lumps on rib cages. It’s a fatty tissue buildup. This kind of lump can exist under a rib’s skin. Usually, these fatty lumps are painless and move under the fingers. Another factor is the lumps usually don’t change. It’s one of the various diagnoses a doctor might give for a rib lump.

Treatment For Rib Cage Lump


The human’s immune system is the first line of defense to fight off various causes of lumps/bumps. They include bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This type of treatment involves boosting the immune system, so it’s more effective for dealing with lumps. There are various kinds of immunotherapy treatments so you should talk to your doctor about whether it’s a good option.

Targeted Therapies 

It involves various options like draining fluid from the growth. Such therapies can be effective when the main issue is a local one instead of entire systems. As with other types of therapies, there are pros and cons you should talk to your doctor about. For example, if the main issue is related to severe health conditions then this treatment might be ineffective.


Often used to treat cancerous growths in particular. These chemical treatments involve strong chemicals that can cause unwanted side-effects. 

There are various possible side-effects that you might experience. It is one of the main drawbacks of chemo and radiation. However, If the risks might be worthwhile if it means they can get rid of cancerous growths and prevent them from spreading to other body parts. 


Various surgical procedures can be performed to remove rib cage lumps. In many cases, this isn’t required, and especially if the growth is non-cancerous. Surgery may be required on various factors like aesthetic reasons. 

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