What is costochondritis?

Updated: Feb 19, 2020
  • Author: Lynn K Flowers, MD, MHA, ABAARM, FACEP; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Costochondritis is inflammation of the costal cartilage at the articulation of the ribs and sternum. [1]  It is an important consideration in the differential diagnosis of chest pain, as in contrast to myocardial ischemia or infarction, it is a benign disorder. [2, 3]  Although the term costochondritis often is used interchangeably with fibrositis and Tietze syndrome, these are distinct diagnoses. Reassurance and pain control are the principal objectives of emergency care; NSAIDs may be useful.

For discussion of costochondritis in children, see Pediatric Costochondritis. For patient education information, see What Is Costochondritis?

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