2 3 Technical Tuesday Xiphoid Process | Ballet Webb

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Technical Tuesday Xiphoid Process

Technical Tuesday Xiphoid Process

Although the name of this bone sounds like it should be something that dancers do (we are all familiar the word process), it is actually the smallest bone of the sternum. The word comes from the Greek word for “sword-shaped”, and this more or less describes the shape of this bone. It is largest at the top, where it attaches to the sternum by a thin, moveable joint (syndesmosis). 

When a baby is born, the xiphoid process is a triangular piece of cartilage that gradually ossifies and fuses with the rest of the sternum. This transformation is so gradual that it often doesn’t end until the person reaches the age of 40!

The xiphoid process is an attachment point for several muscles, including the diaphragm – essential for breathing. Another interesting fact about the xiphoid process is that is it often used as a bony landmark for determining where chest compressions should be administered in CPR (although these compressions should never be done directly on the xiphoid process itself).

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Ballet Secret #42n:  
“The xiphoid process is the smallest bone of the sternum.”

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