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Costochondritis (cont.)

Costochondritis Causes

Costochondritis is an inflammatory process. Nevertheless, it usually has no definite cause. Repeated minor trauma to the chest wall or viral respiratory infections can cause costochondritis. Occasionally, costochondritis as a result of bacterial infections can occur in people who use recreational IV drugs or who have had surgery to their upper chest.

Different types of infectious diseases can cause costochondritis.

  • Viral: Costochondritis commonly occurs with viral respiratory infections because of the inflammation of costochondral junctions from the viral infection itself or from straining from coughing.
  • Bacterial: Costochondritis may occur after surgery and be caused by bacterial infections.
  • Fungal: Fungal infections are rare causes of costochondritis.

Costochondritis can also occur with certain forms of arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, and is sometimes associated with breastbone pain (sternum pain) in these conditions. Costochondritis can occur in people with fibromyalgia.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/28/2014

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Costochondritis »

In contrast to myocardial ischemia or infarction, costochondritis is a benign cause of chest pain and is an important consideration in the differential diagnosis.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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