Tietze Syndrome

What is Tietze Syndrome

Tietze syndrome is a rare disease which involves the swelling of soft tissues around the rib known as cartilage. It is an inflammatory disorder.

The affected individuals will have chest pain and swelling at the the upper ribs (usually the costochondral junction), more specifically where the ribs attach to the breastbone (that is sternum).


  • Chondropathia Tuberosa
  • Costochondral Junction Syndrome

What is the Prevalence

This condition is more common in older children and young adults.

Most of the incidence of this disease occurs before the age of 40, often during the second or third decade of life.

Rarely, Tietze syndrome has been reported in infants, children or the elderly. This disorder affects both the genders equally, Males and females.

The exact incidence or prevalence of the disorder is unknown.

What are the Symptoms of Tietze Syndrome

  • Pain and tenderness in one or more of the upper four ribs which is mild to severe and the pain is usually localized.
  • The most affected are the second or third ribs.
  • In most individuals, this disorder affects the cartilage of only one rib.
  • This pain may have a sudden or gradual onset.
  • The intensity of the pain varies.
  • The characteristics of the pain might be sharp, aching, dull, gripping or a neurologic in nature.
  • Ocasionally, the pain may radiate to the arms, neck, shoulders.
  • Strenuous physical activity, exercise, coughing and sneezing will aggravate the pain.
  • The pain usually subsides after few weeks or months.
  • The affected region might be red (erythema) and warm to touch.
  • The cartilage of the affected ribs will be swollen. the swelling is firm in consistency and the spindle in shape. this swelling might be persistent for few months.

What is the Treatment

Supportive treatment includes:

  • Avoiding Strenuous physical activity and exercise
  • Rest
  • Heat application over the affected areas
  • Analgesics and Nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve the pain.
  • For those with severe pain, local injections directly to the affected areas will reduce the pain immediately, these are corticosteroid and lidocaine injections.
  • The pain resolves by itself without any treatment in few people.

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