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A to Z: Tietze Disease

May also be called: Tietze Syndrome

Tietze (TEET-zuh) disease is a condition that causes swelling and pain in the joints where the upper ribs attach to the breastbone (sternum).

More to Know

Ribs are attached to the breastbone by rubbery cartilage at points called costosternal joints. Pain in one or more of these joints is called costochondritis. Tietze disease happens when there is swelling along with the pain. Tietze disease can cause a sharp, stabbing pain in the chest that makes some people think they're having a heart attack, but Tietze disease is rarely a serious condition.

Often, doctors don't know why people get Tietze disease, but it can sometimes be caused by an injury to the chest, repeated coughing, or physical strain due to heavy lifting or strenuous exercise. Treatment for Tietze disease is usually directed at reducing pain until the condition clears up.

Keep in Mind

Usually, Tietze disease is harmless other than the pain it causes. Tietze disease may come and go and last for several weeks or months, but most of the time it eventually goes away on its own and causes no complications.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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