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Costochondritis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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  • Anterior chest wall pain and tenderness of the costochondral and costosternal regions
  • System(s) affected: musculoskeletal
  • Synonym(s): costosternal syndrome; parasternal chondrodynia; anterior chest wall syndrome (1)


  • Predominant age: 20 to 40 years
  • Predominant gender: female

  • 30% emergency room visits for chest pain
  • 20% of chest pain visits in primary care are for musculoskeletal causes (13% for costochondritis).

Etiology and Pathophysiology

Not fully understood

Risk Factors

  • Unusual physical activity or overuse stressing the upper extremity
  • Recent trauma (including motor vehicle accident, domestic violence) or new-onset physical activity
  • Recent upper respiratory infection (URI) with coughing

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Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Costochondritis." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116153/all/Costochondritis.
Costochondritis. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116153/all/Costochondritis. Accessed April 19, 2019.
Costochondritis. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116153/all/Costochondritis
Costochondritis [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 19]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116153/all/Costochondritis.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Costochondritis ID - 116153 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116153/all/Costochondritis PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -