Inflammation at the junction of a rib and its cartilage. Usually viral in nature, this is commonly associated with chest pain (worsened on inspiration) and point tenderness, and may mimic the pain associated with diseases of the heart or lung. Patients with cos-tochrondritis may hyperventilate, leading to a sensation of shortness of breath (dyspnea).
An inflammation of the cartilage attaching the front of the ribs to the breastbone, causing localized pain and tenderness. The area affected is generally the second or third rib attachment. The pain, which may be severe, tends to become more intense with movement or exercise and may be mistaken for a heart attack. Pressure applied directly to the site can make the pain worse. Redness and swelling are not usually present. Diagnosis may require tests that exclude other possible causes, including chest X rays, electrocardiograms, and certain blood tests. Costochondritis is primarily treated with medication to relieve the associated discomfort.