Costochondritis is likely to occur at the joints amidst the ribs and the sternum. As an inflammatory condition, it is believed to be caused by overuse that results to repetitive micro-trauma. Remember that the 2 bones are cushioned by the cartilage within the joint. This cartilage is damaged and leads to inflammation.
The condition is quite common among younger individuals. It has been associated to rowers and after vehicular accidents when the chest of the driver strikes the driving wheel. It can also occur from infections both viral or bacterial in nature. The 4th up to the 6th ribs are the joints typically affected by costochondritis.
What are the indications?
- Chest pain that arises or worsen during activity
- Pain or discomfort is felt at the anterior of the upper chest and worsened by deep breathing
- Chest pain can occur if direct pressure is applied on the joints
If costochondritis is likely, a diagnosis is usually based on the history of the individual and result of the physical examination. Additional tests such as an X-ray or blood test might be carried out to rule out other conditions.
The treatment for costochondritis includes rest or avoiding any aggravating movements. Cold therapy using an ice pack should be applied directly on the chest. The doctor might also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. Additionally, joint mobilizations are also beneficial.