Costochondral separation

14 March 2017
Comments: 0
14 March 2017, Comments: 0

Costochondral separation or rib separation typically occurs after a direct strike to the rib region. It is important to note that the costochondral joints are those that are comprised of the ribs and the cartilage that links them to the sternum. If there is severance of the bone from the cartilage, it is strikingly the same as joint dislocation.

If one of the costochondral joints are separated, it usually occurs after sustaining an impact such as a fall onto the side of the body or being struck by an object. Twisting movements that are violent can result to costochondral separation. In addition, it can also occur from violent episodes of coughing.

What are the indications of costochondral separation?

Costochondral separation

Abrupt point of pain where the rib meets with the chest bone or sternum.

If an individual is suspected with costochondral separation, the usual indications include the following:

  • Abrupt point of pain where the rib meets with the chest bone or sternum
  • Popping sensation can be felt
  • The initial pain might settle only to steadily worsen again
  • Acute pain during deep breathing, sneezing and coughing


The treatment for costochondral separation is usually getting enough rest. It is still important to seek medical care to exclude any potential complications such as pneumothorax or rib fracture.

The doctor might prescribe pain medications to alleviate the pain and allow normal breathing. Remember that this injury might take around 2-3 months to fully heal.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on costochondral separation is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage chest injuries, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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