Best Bras for Rib Pain – Costochondritis [2024 Review]

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Costochondritis is a condition where the cartilage around your sternum becomes inflamed. This condition is often caused by overuse of the chest muscles through severe coughing, which strains your chest area, an injury to your chest, physical strain from repeated exercise or sudden exertion you’re not used to and can be worsened by wearing a bra that is too tight.

If you suffer from rib pain, then you know how difficult it can be to find a bra that will not only be supportive but also comfortable for everyday wear. An ill-fitting bra can contribute to your discomfort by digging into your sides and adding to your rib pain.

I’ve reviewed eight of the best bras for someone who suffers from costochondritis in the article below.

My Top Bra for Rib Pain Reviews

It’s difficult to wear bras while you have costochondritis. Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone, which causes pain between your breastbone and ribs.

A bra should serve as bust support and not cause any pain. If you are wearing the wrong type of bra for your body, it can cause rib pain or make existing rib pain worse. The right bra for those who have rib pain should provide amazing comfort and good support for your bust.

True & Co Women’s True Body Convertible Bra

The True & Co Women’s True Body Convertible Bra is one of the most comfortable bras to wear if you are experiencing rib pain. This bra has comfortable mesh side flex panels, making it more breathable and supportive just like the Natori Feathers Contour Plunge Bra that I review next.

The True & Co Women’s True Body Convertible Bra has a beautiful back design and lower neckline that allows you to wear it under low cut clothing. Since this bra is wire-free, there are no wires digging into your torso. This bra is a pull-over bra, making it easier to put on and take off.

This bra has removable pads, and is made of a lightweight and soft fabric for additional comfort. This bra is seamless, with adjustable straps that can be converted into a racerback design. This bra helps provide proper shaping and great lift for your breasts properly.

Pros:

  • This bra is machine-washable.
  • This bra is available in 9 colors, and 10 sizes.
  • This bra works well as a sleep bra, or an after-surgery bra.

Cons:

  • The bra band may roll up.
  • This bra has no lining or padding.

Natori Feathers Contour Plunge Bra

The Natori Feathers Contour Plunge Bra is made of 100% nylon with a smooth contour pad and beautiful lace design. The molded cups are covered with mesh fabric to allow more air flow. The molded light contour cups also help keep your breasts supported and give them a pleasing rounded shape.

The straps of this bra are adjustable, and the band has an adjustable hook and eye closure that allows you to adjust the fit of the bra as needed.

Pros:

  • The V-shaped cup lining allows this bra to be worn under plunging or low cut neckline clothing 
  • This bra comes in sizes from 30 A to 38DD.
  • This bra is great for those with smaller cup sizes or those with wider set breasts.

Cons:

  • The sizing on this bra runs small.
  • The straps on this bra are thin and may slip.

Mae Women’s Plunge Bralette with Lace Neckline

The Mae Women’s Plunge Bralette with Lace Neckline is made of 94% Nylon, 6% Spandex, which makes the bralette lightweight and comfortable on the body. The bralette is wireless with molded foam cups and a seamless design for a smooth, supportive fit.

The straps on this bralette are adjustable and the band has a hook and eye closure in the back. This bralette has lace detailing, similar to the Natori Feathers Contour Plunge Bra.

Pros:

  • This bralette is machine-washable.
  • The super soft and smooth fabric of this bralette make it comfortable to sleep in.

Cons:

  • The sizing on this bralette runs small and the manufacturer recommends sizing up.

Hanes Women’s Oh So Light Foam ComfortFlex Fit Wirefree Bra

The Hanes Women’s ComfortFlex Fit Wirefree Bra is made of feather-lite fabric composed of 84% Nylon, 16% Spandex. This bra provides high-end comfort and added support for your breasts without squeezing your ribs. This bra also has a comfortable band that stays put and does not ride up.

With its sleek seamless design, this bra is invisible under your clothing. The flexible foam cups of this bra provides added support and shaping for your breasts. This bra also has adjustable shoulder straps, and an adjustable hook and eye closure at the back.

This bra is wire-free, but still offers great support for your breasts. The sizing on this bra can be a little off and you may want to measure your cup and band size properly before ordering one.

Pros:

  • This bra is highly affordable.
  • This bra is  very lightweight and flexible.
  • This bra is great for hot weather as it is made of light, breathable fabric.

Cons:

  • This bra is hand-wash only.
  • The padding on this bra is thin.

Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Easylite Seamless Wirefree Bra

Costochondritis usually goes away on its own, though it may go away sooner with treatment.  It’s important to have a full coverage bra that you can wear comfortably while you heal. The Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Easylite Seamless Wirefree Bra is a pullover bra of lightweight, 360-degree-stretch fabric made of 61% nylon and 39% spandex.

The side flex panels of this everyday bra offer additional stretch for easy on, easy off. The four-way stretch fabric is also moisture-wicking, which helps keep you cool and comfortable, similar to sports bras.

The Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Easylite Seamless Wirefree Bra is a full coverage bra, with two-ply foam cups that have removable foam inserts for shaping and modesty. This bra smooths your back and helps relieve chest wall pain by supporting your bust with target support zones similar to some sports bras.

The Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Easylite Seamless Wirefree Bra is also wireless and seamless, with thick straps that are designed to stay in place in targeted support zones, similar to the Playtex Women’s 18-Hour Active Lifestyle bra that I review next.

Pros:

  • Seamless, so this full coverage bra is invisible under your clothing
  • SmartComfort band design of this bra provides an amazing fit and extra support for your chest, which can help prevent additional pain
  • The fabric allows you to put this full coverage bra on and remove it easily

Cons:

  • Hand-wash and air-dry only
  • The bra straps are not adjustable

Playtex Women’s 18-Hour Active Breathable Comfort Wire Free Bra

The Playtex Women’s 18-Hour Active Breathable Comfort Wire Free Brais made of a combination of cotton, nylon, spandex, and polyester making it extremely comfortable, yet stretchy and supportive at the same time, even during the most intense workouts.

This bra has a seamless lining, which can help you avoid any skin irritation. This bra also has adjustable straps and 4 sets of hook and eye closure at the back, allowing you to easily loosen or tighten the bra as needed.

The breathable and moisture-wicking fabric of this bra, similar to Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Easylite Seamless Wire Free Bra, keeps you cool and fresh for up to 18 hours. 

The 4-way TruSupport bra design of this bra provides a 4-way support system: higher sides and a taller back for extra side and back support, fuller cups and a wide strap for ultimate comfort.

Pros:

  • The band and shoulder straps on this bra are well-cushioned,  preventing them from digging into and slipping over your shoulders
  • It’s a wire-free bra, making it much more comfortable
  • Tag free, so nothing irritates your skin
  • Provides great support on the sides of your breasts and back

Cons:

  • Does not separate and define the breast shape
  • Padding on this bra is on the thin side

Hanes Women’s SmoothTec ComfortFlex Fit Wirefree Bra

The Hanes Women’s SmoothTec ComfortFlex Fit Wirefree Bra is made of polyester and spandex fabric, making the bra extra smooth, elastic, and comfortable. Similar to the first two bras on the list, it has a seamless design that doesn’t cause rib pain and it’s invisible under your clothing.

Similar to the Playtex Women’s 18-Hour Active Breathable Comfort Wireless Bra, the Hanes Women’s SmoothTec ComfortFlex Fit Wirefree Bra is adjustable at the back with a hook and eye closure. The thick straps are not adjustable, but are wide and will not slip.

The Comfort Flex Fit of this bra provides four way stretch fabric and makes this wireless bra extra breathable and lightweight. The flexible fabric allows you to wear the bra easily and comfortably.

Pros:

  • Comes in multiple sizes, from small to 3x
  • Machine washable

Cons:

  • Unlined, with no removable padding
  • May flatten your breasts a bit

Carole Martin Front Adjustable Closure, Full Support Bra

Last on my list, the Carole Martin Front Adjustable Closure, Full Support Bra offers multidirectional stretch with its 82% Nylon, 18% Spandex fabric.

This flexible fabric provides a comfortable fit and great support for your breasts.

This bra has a hook and eye closure, which makes it easier to put on and take off. This bra has fully adjustable, thin straps and is completely wireless.

Pros:

  • Sides of this bra are wide, which provides great support and comfort
  • Back of this bra has a wide band that evenly distributes the weight of your breasts and gives them great support

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come in sizes for larger breasts.
  • Does not have any padding or lining

Features to Consider for a Bra for Rib Pain

Costochondritis can be very painful and can happen suddenly with no warning. It’s important to have a bra that you can wear that won’t add to your chest wall pain and will give you maximum support.

There are several features that you should consider when looking for a bra that can lessen your rib pain. I discuss those features below and have provided you a comparison table for a quick reference guide as well.

Comparing The Best Bras for Rib Pain Features

Bra Style Band Straps Cups Closure
True & Co True Body Contour plungeMesh fabric, stretchable wide bandAdjustable at the backWire-free removable padsPull-over
Natori Feathers Contour plungeLace design, adjustable bandAdjustable at the backUnderwire bra with plunging contour cupsHook-and-eye closure at the back
Mae Women’s Plunge braletteU-shaped back, adjustable bandAdjustable at the backMoldedHook-and-eye closure at the back
Hanes Oh So Light Non-molded full-coverageMesh fabric, adjustable bandAdjustable at the backFull coverageHook-and-eye closure at the back
Bali Comfort RevolutionSeamless design wirefree braFlat-seamed, adjustable bandNon-adjustableFull bust with removable padsPull-over
Playtex 18-HourWorkout wire-free braComfortable band, M-frame designAdjustableFull coverageHook-and-eye closure at the back
Hanes SmoothTec T-shirt braSeamless design lining, adjustable bandNon-adjustableUnmoldedHook-and-eye closure at the back
Carole MartinFront closure braWide sides, adjustable bandAdjustableUnmoldedHook-and-eye closure at the front

The Right Size

The best way to prevent rib pain is to get the right fit for you. Knowing your cup and band size will help you find the best fitting bra for your body. If your bra is too small, it can be too tight on your torso, causing rib pain. A bra that is too loose will result in less breast support,  causing back and shoulder pain. You definitely will want to pay attention to the manufacturer’s sizing chart, and whether their bra is true to size or if it runs small or large.

The Mae Women’s Plunge Bralette with Lace Neckline manufacturer does say that their sizes run small so you should consider sizing up. Besides an incorrect bra size, there may be other issues causing your pain; you might need a special bra if you have flared ribs.

It offers comfortable cups, has adjustable straps, and is wireless, which are the things you look for in a bra for rib pain

Adjustable Straps

Another way to make your bra more comfortable and help it fit your body properly is to pick a bra that has adjustable straps. Make sure that the wide straps on the bra are not too tight so they won’t dig into your shoulders and provide you maximum comfort.

You also want to make sure that the wide straps are not too loose or they will not be able to support your breasts properly. Straps that are too loose can also cause pain in your ribs because of medium support for the weight of your breasts. Fully adjustable straps can keep this from happening.

Style of the Bra

The best bras come in many styles. Not all of these styles will work to alleviate your rib pain. Some bra styles can make your rib pain worse. A bra with a tight or rigid band will constrict your torso and cause more pain for your already tender ribs. Shapewear bras or corsets can put too much pressure on your ribs, as they are meant to contour your body to make it appear slimmer and smoother.

A super soft, stretchy, lightweight bra without an underwire, with a wide band and adjustable shoulder straps, is the style that will be the most comfortable for sore ribs. The Hanes Women’s Oh So Light Foam ComfortFlex Fit Wirefree Bra from our list is a great choice.

Type of Fabric

The fabric of your bra should be smooth, soft, breathable and stretchy. These characteristics will allow your chest and back to move freely, without any restrictions. Your bra should also feel lightweight and comfortable against your skin.

Avoid textured fabrics, like lace,  which can irritate the skin and cause discomfort. Choose a bra with no design or seams to prevent any friction between your bust and your bra. 

The Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Easylite Seamless Design Bra and Playtex Women’s 18-Hour Active Breathable Comfort Wireless Bra are two of the most comfortable bras on my list without seams or textured fabrics.

No Underwire

An underwire can be the number one reason why your ribs are aching. Underwire bras can dig into your breasts and ribs,  especially if you have the wrong size of bra. The most comfortable bra for sore ribs is going to be wire-free. The True & Co Women’s True Body Convertible Bra on my list can give your breasts a natural shape while keeping you comfortable.

Woman wearing a red bra and green shorts

If you choose not to go wire-free, the Natori Feathers Contour Plunge Bra from our list can give you both the contour and all rounded comfort that you need.

Comfortable Cups

Comfortable cups will cover and shape your breasts without seams. A comfortable cup will rest against your chest and not cause any irritation.

On my list, I have the Hanes Women’s Oh So Light Foam ComfortFlex Fit Wirefree Bra that gives you a comfortable fit and excellent separation between your breasts.

Proper Fitting

The wrong size of bra can also cause discomfort. The bra you choose should not be too tight or overly compressing. It is best to give yourself space to move and breathe freely if you are suffering from costochondritis. Using a too-tight bra during those situations can worsen the condition even more.

If you wear bras that are too loose, all of the weight of your breasts will be on your torso and shoulders. The weight of your breasts should be well-distributed to help avoid shoulder and back strain as much as possible.

That the light contour cups of the bra fit perfectly also matters. Your breasts should be fully covered to make sure they are well-supported.

Support

If you have costochondritis, you’ll need a supportive bra that won’t add to your discomfort. The bra should support your breasts with a wide elastic band, wide side flex panels, full coverage cups, and well-cushioned wide adjustable straps.

On my list of best bras for costochondritis, I have the Carole Martin Front Closure Bra, and Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Easylite Seamless Design Bra that can give amazing support to your bust.

Wide Straps and Band

A wide elastic band that stays in place without rolling up and helps to support your upper body is key when choosing a bra for wearing while you have costochondritis. A bra that has wide, padded non-slip straps can also help alleviate discomfort by keeping the straps from digging into your shoulder. The supportive straps will put less pressure on your shoulders, chest and back. Adjustable straps are also a plus. 

The Bali Women’s Comfort Revolution Easylite Seamless Design Bra and Hanes Women’s SmoothTec ComfortFlex Fit Bra are examples of the best bras on my list that have wide bands and bra straps.

Causes of Costochondritis

Costochondritis can be caused by different things. Some possible reasons why you may develop costochondritis are:

  • An injury caused by an accident or physical trauma
  • Severe coughing that causes strain on your torso
  • Infection in the heart or lungs caused by viruses or bacteria that cause joint inflammation
  • Physical strain on the muscles due to physical activities such as exercises and lifting heavy objects
  • Arthritis
  • Having large breasts
  • Recent or undergoing surgery on the area

Related Questions

Why Does My Bra Dig Into My Ribs?

Your bra can hurt your ribs if it digs into your torso because you have a high ribs cage or your bra is too compressive. When the band of your bra is too tight, it puts too much pressure on your ribs, resulting in pain.

Can Underwire Bras Hurt Your Ribs?

The underwires of your bra can cause pain, especially if they are poking out of the fabric and digging into your chest. Some underwire bras are well-cushioned and this can help you avoid this pain.

How Can I Avoid Rib Pain When Wearing a Bra?

Aside from wearing a properly-fitting bra, you can use a back extender to ensure the fit isn’t too tight around the torso. You can also tighten the shoulder straps to prevent the cups from falling too low and putting pressure on your ribs.

Does It Hurt to Use a Bra With Costochondritis?

Wearing the wrong kind of bra can add to the pain of costochondritis. Some people prefer not to wear a bra if the chest area is in pain, but some people can deal with costochondritis better when they are wearing the right bra.

What Causes Pain When Wearing a Bra?

Unsupportive or uncomfortable bras can cause pain. An ill-fitting bra that is too loose or constricting can also cause discomfort.

Wired vs Wireless Bra: When To Have and Wear Each Type of Bra

Conclusion

Rib pain can be caused by many different reasons. One of those reasons could even be the bra that you are wearing. The best bras for costochondritis should be able to protect your chest while supporting your breasts.

The best bras for costochondritis should be supportive and comfortable with the right amount of elasticity and breathability. The band and shoulder straps of the bra should be wide enough to give you extra support and also stay in place.

If you are wearing the wrong type and size of bra, you might experience rib pain. Make sure to look for a comfortable, flexible and supportive bra.

   

Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.