Rib injuries are common in collegiate rowing. The purpose of this case report is to provide insight into examination, evaluation, and treatment of persistent costochondritis in an elite athlete as well as propose an explanation for chronic dysfunction. The case involved a 21 year old female collegiate rower with multiple episodes of costochondritis over a 1-year period of time. Symptoms were localized to the left third costosternal junction and bilaterally at the fourth costosternal junction with moderate swelling. Initial interventions were directed at the costosternal joint, but only mild, temporary relief of symptoms was attained. Reexamination findings included hypomobility of the upper thoracic spine, costovertebral joints, and lateral ribs. Interventions included postural exercises and manual therapies directed at the lateral and posterior rib structures to improve rib and thoracic spine mobility. Over a 3-week time period pain experienced throughout the day had subsided (visual analog scale-VAS 0/10). She was able to resume running and elliptical aerobic training with minimal discomfort (VAS 2/10) and began to reintegrate into collegiate rowing. Examination of the lateral ribs, cervical and thoracic spine should be part of the comprehensive evaluation of costochondritis. Addressing posterior hypomobility may have allowed for a more thorough recovery in this case study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation