The costosternal joints are the joints connecting the ribs and the sternum (breastbone) at the
front of the chest. Costochondritis is when the cartilage of this joint becomes inflamed. This can
cause chest pain in the area. The inflammation can be caused by trauma to the chest, such as
during contact sports or a car accident, heavy lifting, overuse of the arms, intense exercise, or
coughing or sneezing a lot. Stress or anxiety can cause or exacerbate the symptoms.
Costochondritis is also very common in children and adolescents, and is more common in
females than males. It is important to seek medical advice when you experience chest pain and
breathing difficulties.

Symptoms of costochondritis:
● Pain over the front of the chest
● A tight feeling over the front chest
● Pain may be sharp and radiate to your back or stomach
● Pain with coughing, sneezing or deep breathing
● Pain when bending or twisting your body
● Pain when pressure is applied over breastbone
● Relief of pain when not moving the back and shallow breathing

Initially rest is recommended and pain medications and anti-inflammatories might be prescribed
by your doctor. Taking a break from sporting activities is important to prevent the condition from
reoccuring or becoming chronic. Your physiotherapist might give you some stretching and
mobility exercises to do, regain normal breathing patterns, help with pain management
strategies, and assist you to return to sporting or occupational activities. Treatments such as
mobilisations, dry needling, massage and education can be utilised by your physiotherapist.
Please see your doctor if you experience difficulty breathing, severe chest pains, fever,
nausea, sweating or dizziness, and if the pain medications are ineffective at relieving
your pain.