Costochondritis

Alternative Names

Chest wall pain

Definition of Costochondritis

Costochondritis is an inflammation of a rib or the cartilage connecting a rib. It is a common cause of chest pain.

Signs and tests

Your health care provider can diagnose costochondritis by pressing on the area where the ribs meet the chest bone (sternum). If this area is tender and sore, costochondritis is the most likely cause of your chest pain. However, your doctor should make this diagnosis only after speaking with you and examining you.

Treatment

Anti-inflammatory medicines (such as ibuprofen) are used to treat costochondritis.

Expectations (prognosis)

With treatment, the condition usually goes away in a few days.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/16/2008

Ribs and lung anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

Article written by

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.