Rib Pain in Children

What is Costochondritis?

Costochondritis is inflammation of the rib cartilage and joints between the ribs and breast bone (sternum). It is diagnosed by a doctor or physiotherapist by feeling for tenderness at these points and ruling other conditions.

Symptoms can include chest pain and tenderness of the chest. Chest pain is often worse with chest movements, slouching or deep breathing. It is more common in women, and children can also experience it. It usually improves within a few weeks, but can be persistent or recurring in the same place or a different part of the ribcage.

What is the cause of rib pain?

Costochondritis can occur after chest infections. It can happen after a blow to the ribs or a chest muscle strain e.g. from heavy lifting, pushing or hanging. We can be unsure of the cause in many cases.

How can rib pain be treated?

Physiotherapy can help severe or persistent costochondritis that lasts more than a few weeks. This may involve massage, mobilising stiff rib joints, use of heat or ice, activity and sports modification, and home exercises including chest stretches, strengthening and breathing exercises.

Our APA Titled Paediatric Physiotherapist Fiona Elliott is experienced with treating costochondritis in children. Contact us today to book in for an appointment if your child is experiencing rib pain.

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