Arthritis Q&A by Dr. Shiel

What causes costochondritis? Is there anything that aggravates it (like exercise or diet), or is it possibly viral?


The cause(s) of costochondritis are not known and may involve several factors. Possible causes include heredity (genetic predisposition), viruses, and trauma (injury).

Costochondritis can be an independent condition by itself or sometimes be a feature of a more widespread disorder. Examples of illnesses that can feature costochondritis include fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter's disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Costochondritis can be aggravated by any activity that involves stressing the structures of the front of the chest cage. It is generally best to minimize these activities until the inflammation of the rib and cartilage areas has subsided.

I am unaware of any particular diet causing worsening of costochondritis. On the contrary, it is known that fish oils can have a degree of antiinflammation effect. Theoretically they could be of some benefit. This effect is probably minor, however.

Thank you for your question.

Last Editorial Review: 8/20/2008

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors