Costochondritis

Description

Costochondritis is also known as Tieze’s syndrome which is a similar condition with more pronounced swelling around the costovertebral joints.

Costochondritis is an inflammatory disorder where the ribs attach onto your sternum at the front of your chest. At this junction there is cartilage joining these bones.

It is thought that microtrauma may be a cause of the symptoms as rowers and overhead athletes quite often develope this condition. It can also be  developed after trauma such as a car crash where the steering wheel is embedded into the chest.

Costochondritis is common in the 20-40 age bracket and is more common in females than males 70%-30%. Quite often associate stiffness of the thoracic spine and ribs will be attributed to this condition. Poor posture is also thought to aggravate the symptoms. Often in pregnancy a mild case may develop as the ligaments become lax.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of costochondritis include:

  • Chest pain.
  • Pain can be reproduced by pushing on the rib cage.
  • Worse with activity or exercise.
  • Worse when taking a deep breath.
  • Pain may often be felt in the shoulders or arms as well.

Treatment

Physiotherapy treatment may include:

  • Rest.
  • Correcting posture.
  • Mobilising stiff joints through the thoracic spine and sternum.
  • Postural taping for support.
  • Strengthening of stabilising muscles.