Chondritis refers to inflammation of any cartilage in the body. Inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone is known as Costochondritis (costo- means rib). It is one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal chest painIt results in severe pain in the chest wall around the breastbone (or sternum). It is often seen in people between 20 and 40 years of age. The cause is usually unknown. Females are affected more often than males. The importance of diagnosing this entity lies in the fact that it is a benign cause of chest pain when compared to fatal causes like angina or heart attack. Costochondritis is a relatively harmless condition that may go away without treatment.
Sometimes Costochondritis may be accompanied by swelling of the areas surrounding the cartilage; the condition is called Tietze’s Syndrome. Tietze’s Syndrome is not Costochondritis though a large number of sources consider them to be the same. Both diseases affect the same regions of the chest. Swelling is absent with Costochondritis while Tietze’s syndrome involves swelling.