Tietze syndrome

Tietze syndrome is characterized by pain and swelling at the transition of cartilage into bone tissue. It is an inflammation of the rib cartilage of unknown etiology. Most often formed swelling disappears as suddenly as it appears.

Usually the disease process develops in cartilage of II and III ribs, much less – I and IV ribs. Sometimes painful swelling of the joint that connects the sternum to the clavicle doctors also called Tietze syndrome. The syndrome was named after the German surgeon Alexander Tietze (1864-1927), who first described the disease accurately.


  • Painful, hard swelling between the ribs and the sternum.
  • When you pressure on this place there is pain.
  • Pain when coughing, inspiration, laughter.


Causes of Tietze syndrome are not yet fully understood. Doctors suspect that its development is caused by several factors. Some believe that the swelling is the result of infections or insect bites, for example, there are cases of inflammation of pectoral fins due to an intestinal infection. The possible causes are considered as violations of hormonal metabolism, injury, or an eating disorder after operations on the esophagus. This syndrome is often accompanied by chronic lung disease. However, due to the fact that the syndrome occurs in people with completely healthy lungs, probably direct communication between pulmonary disease and Tietze syndrome does not exist.

Pathologists studying the affected tissues of sick people, reveal degenerative changes in the transition of cartilage into bone tissue and the destruction of the underlying tissues. Children can also suffer from subluxations ribs in the places of their attachment to the sternum.


Causes of the syndrome is not entirely clear, therefore it is possible only symptomatic treatment. Typically, physicians prescribe the same tablets and ointments, and that the treatment of rheumatic diseases

There is no effective treatment for this disease. In the presence of chest pain you should immediately contact a doctor.

There are no pathological changes on radiogram. A blood test also does not show abnormalities. Conducting this research allows the doctor to rule out the presence of rheumatic, inflammatory diseases, tuberculosis, tumors (symptoms of these diseases are similar).

Course of the disease

Painful, firm to the touch swelling suddenly appears in the transition rib cartilage in the sternum, it is not hot (as if it was in the case of inflammation). Pain is enhanced to the patient by coughing, deep breathing, laughter, and so on.

Is this syndrome dangerous?

Very unpleasant painful sensations arise at the place of injury, but Tietze syndrome is not a significant risk.

Causes of pain arising from a cough or breathing are different. If their reason – Tietze syndrome, then you should not worry. However, with the appearance of the above symptoms, it’s better to consult a doctor.