Chest pain is the main symptom of costochondritis, most commonly caused or followed by a respiratory infection, injury or trauma, or intense exercise.
Symptoms of costochondritis include:
- Sharp pain or tenderness in the chest, specifically where the rib attaches to the breastbone
- Pain more common on the left side
- Pain may occur in multiple locations on one side of the chest
- Pain usually gets worse as you press on the cartilage or stretch the nearby muscles
- Pain is most commonly in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th ribs
- Pain may increase with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
There should be no noticeable swelling with costochondritis, unless it has occurred as a result of surgery. There is a similar condition (though much more rare) called Tietze syndrome that includes swelling a symptom.
Costochondritis does not involve symptoms such as high fevers, signs of infection (e.g. pus, redness), trouble breathing (though it may hurt to breathe deeply with costochondritis) or sweating/nausea/dizziness. It’s important to see a doctor if you have chest pain or any of those symptoms.
There are many conditions that can cause chest pain. See a physician if you have any questions related to your costochondritis symptoms.