Injury alert: Costochondritis/Tietze Syndrome

Published: 18th March 2010
Views: N/A

Injuries are common in sports and exercise. Elite athletes, weekend warriors and Pilate instructors all are at risk for injuries and at some point in their lives will probably experience an injury at least once. Some injuries are more common than others. Costochondritis is a fairly common injury, but one that is not well known.

According to, costochondritis is "an inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone or sternum". The causes of it are usually unknown. Some believe being in a car accident and having the steering wheel hit your sternum or overuse from activities such as repetitive coughing can lead to costochondritis. Symptoms include chest pain that is sharp and is usually located in your sternum with tenderness around the rib joints (not to be confused with tietze syndrome, but more on that later).

If your client is experiencing any of these conditions first and foremost, recommend they see their doctor. Chest pain is no matter to try and diagnose yourself. It could be due to heart disease. After the doctor has ruled this out and decided it is costochondritis, they will probably be put on an NSAID (non-sterodial anti-inflammatory) drug.

From there you will need to take it slowly. Costochondritis can easily come back so you will want to keep the exercises light and make sure your client listens to his/her body. If they have any indication that an exercise is aggravating their injury, have them stop and try something less difficult. So long as your client takes it slowly, costochondritis can disappears within a few weeks, but can take 6 months or more to heal.

Another condition similar to costochondritis is tietze syndrome. Doctor's think it also comes from overuse. The main difference between costo and tietze is those with tietze have swelling of the costal cartilage, while costo has no swelling. In addition it might be more difficult to sleep as rolling over in bed can cause additional pain.

Treatment for tietze syndrome is similar to costo. Rest, NSAID's, physical therapy, and if needed, cortisone injections. Applying ice to the inflamed area several times a day can help reduce swelling and speed recovery. Like costo, those who have tietze syndrome can expect it to take anywhere from a few weeks to 6 months to completely heal.

Injuries like costo and tietze are not life threatening, but if you are not patient with the healing process, you could find yourself nursing the injury for over a year or more, which can put your life on hold.


Dimitri Onyskow is Director of Academic Relations for Educational Fitness Solutions, Inc (EFS). EFS, in partnership with the College-University Partners Network™, industry experts, internship affiliates, our board of advisors, and national organizations, has created innovative, Web-based certificate programs in Nutrition, Fitness, and Health. To learn more, visit our website:

Report this article Ask About This Article

More to Explore