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Costochondritis most commonly affects the upper ribs on the left-hand side of your body. Pain is often worse where the rib cartilage attaches to the breastbone (sternum), but it can also occur where the cartilage attaches to the rib.

Costochondritis is sometimes known as chest wall pain syndrome, costosternal syndrome, or costosternal chondrodynia. Sometimes, swelling accompanies the pain (Tietze syndrome).

What causes costochondritis is unclear. Treatment focuses on easing the pain while waiting for the condition to improve on its own, which can take several weeks or more.

Symptoms of Costochondritis

The pain associated with costochondritis usually:

  • Occurs on the left side of your breastbone
  • Is sharp, aching, or pressure-like
  • Affects more than one rib
  • Can radiate to arms and shoulders
  • Worsens when taking a deep breath, coughing, sneezing, or with any chest wall movement


Costochondritis usually has no clear cause. However, costochondritis might be associated with trauma, illness, or physical strain, such as severe coughing.

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