Costochondritis

I was diagnosed with this (well Teitze syndrome, but it appears to be basically the same thing) about 10 days ago. The main symptom I have is sore ribs like someone whacked me right on the sternum, though I was a little breathless and had a raised HR initially too. I got checked out (ECG, bloods etc) and they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. The pain mostly went away over the course of last week, so I did Volunteer on Thursday (it was much harder than it should have been), and it’s flared up again since then.
Has anyone else had Costochondritis or Tietze syndrome, and if so, how long did it take for you to get back to being able to do some training? I’m on lockdown, so I would really like to be able to ride the trainer, but I don’t want to make it worse or prolong things. The doc basically said to continue as normal but not do anything that irritates it too much (contradiction), and take painkillers if necessary.

The inflammation needs to settle, hence the recommendation regarding rest. To get through it quicker, a course of NSAIDs would likely be helpful both with reducing the pain, but also cutting down on the inflammation. Naproxen 500mg a couple of times a day or Ibuprofen 800mg three times a day would be pretty standard.

Given that cycling has caused it to flare for you, I’d suggest trying the NSAIDS and then giving it four or five days off the bike to really try and get it to settle. Then when you resume, do a few shorter easy rides like Taku to see how they go.

1 Like

Thanks for the info. The strange thing is that I don’t feel it all the time, but I definitely notice a restriction when breathing deeply (riding bike, walking really fast), and there is an aftermath (I guess irritation causing inflamation afterwards). When you say 4-5 days, do you mean that long after any symptoms? I’ve been 5 days off the bike now, but I can still feel it at times.

It sounds like things are getting re-irritated after activities. Best bet is to take the NSAIDs and really let things settle down. It may take a bit longer than 5 days, but then carefully ease back into things and see how your body feels. If still having the symptoms, then likely additional rest is needed. Unfortunately trying to push through may simply prolong the whole thing.

I’m not pushing through. I will wait until I have gone a couple of days with no rib pain before riding again. One thing I saw online suggested that the most common cause is the rib joints in the back seizing up and making the ones at the front do too much work. I’ve always had back issues, so I rollered it, and it was super tight and sort in exactly those spots. I’ll try rollering and stretching my back and hope that helps (and also pay attention to my posture at my makeshift desk).
Thanks for your input - it’s been really helpful.

I’ve also just been diagnosed as having this. I had been in pain for a couple of weeks (stabbing pain between the ribs, front & rear) but was just pushing through, the irony being that on the bike it wasn’t effecting me and i was feeling strong.

Doc diagnosed me over the phone at the start of the week and audibly laughed when i told him i was a cyclist, assume he see’s it quite a lot.

Anyway, not the worst time to be taking a couple of easy weeks.

I’m very interested to hear an update on everyone’s condition with Costo. I had been training regularly this year when all of a sudden I too was struck by high blood pressure/heart rate out of nowhere. Then I had this nagging pain in my ribs. My ribs were actually so inflamed they stuck out from my chest. After 6 PT appointments it feels more manageable. Inflammatory condition overnight???

Doctor has me on Celebrex twice a day and helps with inflammation and pain. Progressing slowly in PT and decided to ride last weekend. Felt strong and eager to ride again and then I paid dearly the follow day and have ever since. I cannot make sense of this and NSAIDs do nothing for the pain. I have rollers, back pod, lacrosse balls, tennis balls, yoga and every day, same mind numbing pain.

I’m getting frustrated and fear I’ll never be able to ride again. PT said no running, no biking, no golf, nothing except walking, stretching or breathing exercises. Anyone else experience this? Any advice???

Mine goes away for a while and then comes back. It seems to be related to when I have a cold, and it’s come back again the last few days, which means it’s definitely not related to cycling (haven’t been on a bike since May as I have a hip injury). I think it’s posture related - my back muscles have been very tight for a few days (I can tell because turning my head makes my neck feel all crunchy). If it’s persistent, but you get some relief from PT then it’s worth looking at your posture - have you changed your working environment recently? Maybe you need to look at your everyday environment (whether that’s at a desk, in a car, standing at a counter, sitting on the sofa or whatever) - check what’s changed and see if you can make it more ergonomic and put less pressure on your back.
Good luck getting to the root cause, and post up here as you go. It’s frustrating not being able to ride.

Interesting diagnosis when you’ve been training regularly with no real change in your patterns. Are you clear that your sternocostal joints are point tender or you are you experiencing non-descript pain in that area? Frequently anterior chest wall pain is related to the thoracic spine in the absence of medical problems.

I was diagnosed with Tietz Syndrome which has forced me off the bike for the past 3 months. It has been hugely debilitating. I’ve had this for years but never experienced such a big flare up. I started cycling a lot during lockdown and I guess my body didn’t like the set up. Has anyone changed their bike set up with any success? I was thinking I would need to sit in a more upright, less stretched out position, i’ve already placed handlebars above my seat height but am thinking the handlebars now need to come in closer, which potentially means a new bike as I already have a short stem.

Has anyone worked with physical therapists that have any knowledge about this? I’ve never met a professional that has been able to provide advice aside from waiting it out.