May also be called: Chest Wall Pain; Costosternal Syndrome; Costosternal Chondrodynia
Costochondritis (KOS-toe-khon-DRI-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that attaches a rib to the breastbone (sternum).
Costochondritis causes sharp, localized chest pain that can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack or other heart conditions. Costochondritis affects females more than males and is a common cause of chest pain in children, teens, and young adults.
The sternum is the hard bone you can feel in the center of the chest, running from the bottom of the throat down toward the stomach. The ribs are connected to the sternum by rubbery cartilage at points called costosternal joints. One or more of the costosternal joints can be affected by costochondritis, and it's in these joints that the pain is felt.
Costochondritis is usually benign, meaning it's harmless other than the pain it causes, and typically goes away on its own quickly, although in some cases it can last longer.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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