DefinitionCostochondritis is pain in the front of the chest wall. In particular, it is irritation where the bone and cartilage part of the ribs meet. Sometimes there is also chest swelling and inflammation. This is a condition referred to as Tietze’s syndrome. Neither costochondritis nor Tietze’s syndrome is a serious disease. However, their symptoms are similar to those of several dangerous conditions, like a heart attack .
|The Rib Cage|
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CausesThe cause of costochondritis is often not known. At other times, the condition can occur due to injury or overuse.
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your chance of costochondritis include:
- Infection, especially following trauma to the chest
- Arthritis, especially:
- Heavy lifting and strenuous exercise
SymptomsCostochondritis may cause:
- Sharp, localized chest pain, which may be made worse by sneezing, coughing, deep breathing, or twisting motions of the chest
- Tenderness or swelling over a joint between:
- Rib cartilage and breast bone
- Rib cartilage and rib bone swelling
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may do further tests if the diagnosis is not clear. Tests to examine the ribs more closely may include a chest x-ray .
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