Costochondritis & Tietze's Syndrome
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
- What is costochondritis?
- What causes costochondritis?
- What are symptoms of costochondritis, and what is Tietze's syndrome?
- How are costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome?
- What is the prognosis for costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome?
- Can costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome be prevented?
- Patient Comments: Costochondritis and Tietze's Syndrome - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Costochondritis and Tietze's Syndrome - Symptoms
- Find a local Rheumatologist in your town
What is costochondritis?
Costochondritis is a common form of inflammation of the cartilage where ribs attach to the breastbone, the sternum. The inflammation can involve multiple cartilage areas on both sides of the sternum but usually is on one side only.
What causes costochondritis?
The causes of costochondritis are not known and may involve several factors. Possible causes include heredity (genetic predisposition), viruses, and trauma (injury).
Costochondritis can be an independent condition by itself or sometimes can be a feature of a more widespread disorder. Examples of illnesses that can feature costochondritis include fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease).
What are symptoms of costochondritis, and what is Tietze's syndrome?
Costochondritis is distinguished from Tietze's syndrome, a condition also involving the same area of the front of the chest, by the presence of swelling. Costochondritis is not associated with swelling, as opposed to Tietze's syndrome, where swelling is characteristic. Tietze's syndrome is an inflammation of the costochondral cartilages of the upper front of the chest that involves swelling of the joint.
While both costochondritis and Tietze's syndrome feature localized pain and tenderness in the front of the chest, Tietze's syndrome also causes swelling over the ribs and cartilage near the breastbone (sternum). Redness, tenderness, and warmth can also be present, but a localized swelling is the distinguishing finding. The pain is variable, often sharp, can be confused with heart pain, and can last from hours to weeks. It can cause difficulty with sleeping and even rolling over in bed is sometimes painful. Blood testing (sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein test) can show signs of inflammation in patients with Tietze's syndrome, whereas patients with costochondritis alone typically have normal tests for inflammation.
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