ZocdocAnswersWhat causes soreness around the sternum?

Question

What causes soreness around the sternum?

Had some weird pain and soreness around my sternum. Didn?t know you could injure that area with out falling on it or something. What gives?

Answer

If you haven't had a blow to the chest or a fall, and if you haven't been lifting heavy objects or exercising vigorously, then it is unlikely that you have 'injured' the sternum or the surrounding ribs. Your intuition is right there! If, on the other hand, you have been recently vigorously exercise or otherwise engaged in hard physical labor, it is possible to strain the muscles between the ribs, called the intercostal muscles. If you think this might be the source of your pain, you should focus on resting up and taking some anti inflammatory medications to relieve the pain - you should be feeling better in a few days! If none of this applies, then we have to consider the diagnosis of costochondritis. Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage joints between the ribs and the sternum and it is one of the most common conditions diagnosed by primary care doctors everyday. Often, the inflammation is caused by a virus, such as the common cold virus, but there is sometimes no identifying source. Costochondritis is also treated primarily with anti inflammatory medications, and your primary care doctor will be able to perform a quick examination and confirm the diagnosis.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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