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Costochondritis

Definition

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

Alternative Names

Chest wall pain

Exams 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

Pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetiminophen, are used to treat costochondritis.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Costochondritis pain usually goes away in a few days or weeks.

References

Sabatine MS, Cannon CP. Approach to the patient with chest pain. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 53.

Imamura M, Cassius DA. Costosternal syndromes. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo Jr TD, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008: chap 98.

Proulx AM, Zryd TW. Costochondritis: Diagnosis and Treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2009;80(6):617-620.


Review Date: 10/14/2012
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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