by Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
Costochondritis is a painful inflammation in the front of the chest. It is in the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breast bone.
Tietze’s syndrome is similar inflammation in upper ribs. Neither of these conditions is a serious issue. However, their symptoms are similar to dangerous conditions, like a heart attack. It is important to confirm what is causing your symptoms.
The cause is not often known. Sometimes there is a clear cause of irritation to the area such as:
Other times it may be due to abnormally tight or loose joints in the area.
Factors that may increase your chances of costochondritis include:
Costochondritis may cause:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Costochondritis will often go away on its own. It may take a few weeks to a few months to pass. Options to help manage the pain include:
Treatments that may help lingering or repeating pain include:
There are no current steps for prevention.
Family Doctor—The American Academy of Family Physicians
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Costochondritis. EBSCO Dynamed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114285/Costochondritis . Updated November 28, 2016. Accessed December 18, 2017.
Costochondritis. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at:
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Updated January 2015. Accessed December 18, 2017.
Proulx AM, Zryd TW. Costochondritis: Diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2009;80(6):617-620.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 4/24/2018
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