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Costochondritis (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Call the doctor for any of the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • High fever
  • Signs of infection such as redness, pus, and increased swelling at the rib joints
  • Continuing or worsening pain despite medication with over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications (see Treatment section below)

Go to a hospital's emergency department if you have difficulty breathing or any of the following symptoms occur. These symptoms are generally not from costochondritis:

  • High fever not responding to fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Signs of infection at the tender spot such as pus, redness, increased pain, and swelling
  • Persistent chest pain of any type associated with nausea, sweating, left arm pain, or any generalized chest pain that is not well localized. These symptoms can be signs of a heart attack. If you are not sure what is causing your condition, always go to the emergency department.
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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