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

See also: Chest pain

Alternative Names

Chest wall 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.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

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

Calling your health care provider



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



Cannon CP, Lee TH. Approach to the patient with chest pain. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa; Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 49.

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.

Ribs and lung anatomy
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Review Date: 11/16/2008
Reviewed By: 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.
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