Costochondritis is inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone (sternum). Costochondritis causes localized chest wall pain and tenderness that can be reproduced by pushing on the involved cartilage in the front of the rib cage. Costochondritis is a relatively harmless musculoskeletal chest pain and usually resolves without treatment. The cause is usually unknown. Costochondritis affects females more often than males (70% versus 30%).
- Costochondritis is a common cause of chest pain in children and adolescents. It accounts for 10%-30% of all chest pain in children. Annually, doctors evaluate about 650,000 cases of chest pain in young people 10-21 years of age. The peak age for the condition is 12-14 years of age.
- Overall, costochondritis is one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal chest pain.
- While chest pain can represent heart disease and heart attack, inflammation around the heart (pericarditis) or lungs (pleuritis), costochondritis is also considered as a possible diagnosis in adults with chest pain.
- Tietze syndrome is also a cause of localized musculoskeletal chest pain that is distinguished from the more common costochondritis.
- As opposed to costochondritis in which there is no swelling, Tietze syndrome is accompanied by a localized swelling at the painful area (the junction of the ribs and breastbone).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2015
Must Read Articles Related to Costochondritis
Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatologic Perspective
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that involves the spine and the sacroiliac (SI) joints.learn more >>
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Causes include injury, abnormal metabolism (such as gout), inheritance (such as in osteoarthritis), infections (such as...learn more >>
Fibromyalgia is an illness with no known cause. Symptoms include chronic pain, fatigue, fibrofog (mental haziness), insomnia, headaches, nervousness, numbness, ...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Costochondritis: