Pec Tear

Usually suffered by 25-45 year old males whilst weightlifting, a tear of the pectoralis major muscle of the chest occurs suddenly with a snapping or popping sensation in the shoulder followed by strong pain, swelling and bruising of the chest and upper arm.

What is a Pec Tear?

If you're a body builder, you may be familiar with a common chest injury known as a pec tear. Usually suffered by 25-45 year old males in the world of weight lifting and heavy exercise, a tear of the pectoralis major muscle of the chest occurs suddenly with a snapping or popping sensation in the shoulder followed by strong pain, swelling and bruising of the chest and upper arm.

Classification of tears follow either;

  • Muscle strain without complete tear
  • Complete tendon rupture

In most cases, a pec tear involves complete tendon rupture of the chest from its attachment to the upper arm. A ruptured tendon will retract away from where it was torn, causing disfugurement of the chest as the muscle starts to bunch. A ruptured pec tendon will not heal by itself and will need surgery to be repaired.

You felt a snap in your chest while training? You need a shoulder expert!

If you suspect serious chest injury after training heavy, don't wait until the bruising settles before you have it seen to.

If you suspect you may have a pec tear injury, it is important to treat it quickly before it becomes a permanent condition.

Dr Manish Gupta is a qualified shoulder expert and available to help you with your pec tear condition. Book a consult to see Dr Gupta online by using our special PRIORITY booking form.

Symptoms

Pec tear may exhibit the following symptoms;

  • A popping or snapping experience during heavy chest training or activity
  • Strong pain in the chest and upper arm
  • Chest deformity and muscle bunching
  • Weakness of the chest
  • Bruising and swelling

Causes

Pec tear may be caused by:

  • Overloading the chest with a heavy chest pressing movement

Tendons are susceptible to tear when they contract against the direction they want to go. Also called eccentric loading, this type of contraction involves muscle lengthening while contracting. An example of this is when you contract your chest to lower the bar to your chest or when you try to press a weight which is too heavy and although you are pushing, the weight begins to fall.

Permanent Injury

A pec tear injury involving complete rupture of the pectoralis major tendon cannot heal by itself and will result in permanent injury causing muscle bunching and weakness of the chest if not surgically repaired. 

Diagnosis

To diagnose pec tear, the consultant will question the patient to:

  • Understand the nature of the injury (sports, work, accident, overuse etc)
  • Determine the cause of the injury (impact, collision, fall, repetitive/slow onset)
  • Understand the context of the suffering (age, return to sport, work, impact on daily living)
  • Perform a physical examination to ascertain pain and stability
  • Perform specialised shoulder tests to confirm diagnosis

Tendon Rupture

A positive pec tendon rupture will present with;

  • Pain over the attachment site of the upper arm
  • Chest muscle retraction, causing a hole in the chest near the upper arm and muscle bunching in the chest elsewhere
  • Chest weakness
  • Positive MRI 

Early diagnosis and treatment of pec tear is extremely important to avoid permanent injury.

Dr Manish Gupta is a shoulder expert and can quickly diagnose your shoulder condition to determine the best course of action to prevent permantent damage.

Treatment

Tearing your pec is an extremely painful condition. Dr Gupta is an experienced Orthopaedic specialist who has treated many elite athletes with traumatic pec tear injury.

Treatment begins with a thorough diagnosis to understand the severity of the condition in the context of your age, your sport, your work and your life to understand what is important to you about your recovery.

Non-Surgical

Tearing a pec is not a life threatening condition, although if not surgically treated you will be left with muscle deformity and muscle weakness of the chest. The non-surgical treatment of the injury requires; 

  • Rest for up to 6 weeks
  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medication
  • Consideration for surgery
  • Physiotherapy rehab protocol

Surgical

If you do not wish to have the permanent consequencse of the injury, you can choose to have Pec Repair Surgery

Pec Repair Surgery is a minimally invasive procedure where the torn pec tendon is reattached to the upper arm.

Post Op Rehab Protocol

Dr Gupta uses a clinically proven rehabilitation process for each of his operative procedures. Find out more about pec tear rehab on our Post-Op Pec Repair Rehab Protocol Page.

If you do not wish to suffer a permanent chest injury, it is important to see a shoulder expert quickly.

Dr Gupta uses a systematic approach to diagnosis and treatment to help you return to the sport or activities that you love.

Contact Dr Gupta on 02 9687 8344 or make an online booking here