Tietze syndrome is an uncommon, inflammatory illness characterized by chest discomfort and swelling of one or more upper rib cartilages, particularly where the ribs join the breastbone. Tietze syndrome is a benign illness that may cure itself without therapy in certain situations, and it mainly affects people under the age of 40. Its precise cause is unknown.

The syndrome is named after Alexander Tietze, a German doctor who reported it for the first time in 1909.


Chest discomfort is the most prevalent symptom of Tietze syndrome. With this illness, you may experience pain around one or more of your top four ribs, particularly where your ribs connect to your breastbone.

According to research, the second or third rib is commonly damaged. In 70 to 80 percent of patients, the discomfort is localized on a single rib. In most cases, just one side of the chest is afflicted.

Inflammation of the injured rib cartilage causes the pain. This portion of cartilage is known as the costochondral junction.

Inflammation may cause swelling that hardens and becomes spindly. The region may be sensitive and heated to the touch and swollen or red.

Tietze syndrome pain may:

  • worsen when you exercise, cough, or sneeze
  • come on suddenly or gradually
  • feel sharp, stabbing, dull, or aching
  • range from moderate to severe
  • spread to your arm, neck, and shoulders

The discomfort subsides typically after a few weeks, even if the swelling persists.


Tietze syndrome may be challenging to diagnose, particularly when it comes to distinguishing it from the more prevalent costochondritis.

It might involve the following:

  • Blood tests are performed to detect indicators of a heart attack or other diseases.
  • Ultrasound imaging is used to examine your ribs and determine whether or not there is any cartilage inflammation.
  • A chest X-ray to check for sickness or other abnormalities with your organs, bones, and tissues
  • A chest MRI to search for cartilage thickening or inflammation
  • A bone scan to examine your bones more closely
  • An electrocardiogram to check your heart’s health and rule out heart illness.

Tietze syndrome is diagnosed based on your symptoms and the elimination of other probable causes of discomfort.


Tietze syndrome symptoms are typically not significant and will go away on their own. Just knowing that it’s Tietze syndrome and not a heart attack will help you cope with the pain until it goes away on its own. A person with TS may experience chronic or recurrent discomfort in certain situations.

If the TS discomfort does not go away, a doctor may suggest the following:

  • rest
  • avoiding difficult tasks
  • heating the afflicted area

If your discomfort is severe, your doctor may consider corticosteroid injections directly into your joint to relieve pain and swelling. This can only be done a few times before risking joint harm.

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Referred pain is a phenomenon where pain is perceived at a [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Quinoline yellow is a synthetic food colorant commonly used in the [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Pneumothorax is a condition characterized by the presence of air in [...]