Costocondritis

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INJURY TITLE

Costocondritis

 

 

 

GeENERAL INFORMATION

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.

 

The cause of costochondritis is 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 be a feature of a more widespread disorder. Examples of illnesses that can feature costochondritis include fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease).

 

 

 

 

COMMON SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Local tenderness over the joint(s) around the sternum

Pain on deep breath which can be increased with vigorous exercise.

Sometimes pain with normal activities like putting a shirt on (due to the stretch involved).

Tenderness on palpation (touching) of the front and centre of your chest.

If you have localised swelling, this may be another very similar condition known as Tietze’s Syndrome as opposed to Costochondritis where swelling is notcharacteristic.

 

 

 

ASSESSMENT INFORMATION

Clinical questioning will help to map the history and onset of the condition along with the likely aggravating factors.

 

Clinical assessment involving palpation (feeling) the painful area in comparison to other ribs and neighbouring parts of the chest.  Assessment of the thoracic spine (middle of your back) and neck, including muscle lengths (if your neck muscles are tight they can cause discomfort further down into your chest) may also highlight any factors that may influence the pain indirectly.

 

 

 

 

 

GENERAL TREATMENT

Costochondritis can be aggravated by any activity that involves stressing the structures of the front of the chest cage. It is generally best to minimize these activities until the inflammation of the rib and cartilage areas has subsided.

 

Rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and even cortisone injections have been used as therapy for the inflamed, painful cartilage of both costochondritis and Tietze syndrome. Ice packs applied to local swelling can sometimes help to reduce pain and inflammation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHICH HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO CONSULT

PHYSIO     X MEDIC     X PODIATRY     

 

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