Arthritis is a degenerative condition that causes wear and tear on joint cartilage, according to Mayoclinic.com. Arthritis can affect a number of joints, including the sternum, because there is cartilage where the ribs attach to the sternum.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a more chronic form of arthritis, can affect both children and adults. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause several conditions that affect the synovial membrane of sternum cartilage, which helps prevent friction where the ribs and sternum connect.
Types of Sternum Pain
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause a painful condition known as costochondritis, which is the inflammation of the cartilage where the ribs and sternum meet.
Other Types of Sternum Pain
Tietz syndrome can also be caused by different types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. Tietz syndrome is different from costochondritis in that it also causes noticeable swelling, redness and tenderness in the sternum, according to Emedicinehealth.com.
Both costochondritis and Tietz syndrome can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen. A doctor may give the patient a cortisone shot for more severe pain. Ice can help reduce inflammation and swelling.
People with sternum pain should always see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Some forms of costochondritis can cause infections that may require an antibiotic.