Pectoralis major tear - Muscular Injuries

A pectoralis major tear occurs when the tendon attaching the muscle to the humerus bone in the arm is damaged; this is not a common injury.

Causes of pectoralis major tears

The most common cause is a sudden movement which places sudden, extreme pressure on the pectoralis major muscle and the connective tissue that surrounds it. This injury is most common in weightlifters and occurs when the athlete lifts the weight, placing huge pressure on the muscles in the chest. This injury also occurs in contact sports such as rugby and football and is usually the result of high speed contact or impact.

Symptoms of a pectoralis major tear

In many cases an individual will experience a burning or tearing sensation in their chest if the muscle is torn; pain will be severe in the chest and may stretch to the upper arms. Bruising and swelling may also occur around the affected muscle and movement will be restricted; pain will be heightened when the arms are placed in front of the body. In some cases, a pocket may be visible where the muscle has torn.

Treatment for a pectoralis major tear

In most cases, surgery will be required; however, if the tear is only partial it may not be necessary. Surgery is used to repair the muscle and is usually carried out soon after the injury has happened. Once healing is underway, physiotherapy is usually recommended to improve movement and increase strength around the muscle.

Preventing a pectoralis major tear

The most effective means of prevention is a thorough warm-up prior to physical activity; this will loosen and warm the muscles and increase circulation.

Muscular Injuries Guide Index:

Find a Sports Injury Clinic

- OR -

Latest Articles