Costochondritis is the medical term for inflammation of the cartilage that joins your ribs to your breastbone (sternum). This area is known as the costochondral joint. Cartilage is tough but flexible connective tissue found throughout the body, including in the joints between bones. It acts as a shock absorber, cushioning the joints. Costochondritis may improve on its own after a few weeks, although it can last for several months or more. The condition doesn’t lead to any permanent problems, but may sometimes relapse.