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Pectoralis Major Tendon Rupture


Though rare, pectoralis major tendon rupture is a serious injury caused by intense muscle contraction or an injury to the area. The pectoralis muscle is divided into two parts known as the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. The larger of the two muscles, the pectoralis major enables people to move the arms in front of the body. During intense activity like weight lifting, the tendon of the pectoralis major can rupture, causing the muscle and bone to become separated.

If you think you may be suffering from a pectoralis major tendon rupture, it’s important that you seek immediate attention from a board-certified orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Eric Millstein, who specializes in surgical reconstruction.

Causes of Pectoralis Tendon Rupture

Certain activities and habits can make one more susceptible to suffering pectoralis tendon ruptures. Although rare, the condition is more prominent in competitive athletes who participate in contact sports like football, wrestling and rugby and those who lift weights regularly. Bench pressing, in particular, has been known to cause pec tendon ruptures. Further, traumatic injuries and the use of steroids can raise one’s risk of rupturing the pectoralis tendon.

Symptoms of Pectoralis Tendon Rupture

People who suffer a pectoralis tendon rupture may notice a painful tearing sensation at the time of the injury. After the initial tear, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Chest or upper arm pain
  • Bruising of the chest or upper arm
  • Trouble moving the arms in front of the body
  • Formation of a pocket where the rupture occurred

If you’re experiencing one or more of the above signs of a pectoralis tendon rupture, you should not hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Millstein for further testing, as immediate repair may be essential to ensuring you make a full recovery. 

Diagnosing Pectoralis Rupture

Dr. Millstein may order an X-ray, ultrasound or MRI to diagnose a pectoralis major tendon rupture. He will also likely perform a physical examination of the affected muscle to look for bruising and other signs of a tear. Once an injury has been confirmed, the patient will most likely require surgery and physical therapy to regain full function of the arm. Studies suggest that most patients return to normal strength and range of motion after undergoing surgical pectoralis rupture repair.

Schedule a Consultation

A member of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, Dr. Eric S. Millstein is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of sports injuries including pectoralis major tendon rupture. Offering state-of-the-art personalized care and advanced arthroscopic surgical techniques, Dr. Millstein strives to help all of his patients get back to living life without pain and participating in the activities and sports they love. Contact Dr. Millstein for a consultation today by calling (310) 595-1030 or schedule an appointment online to visit his office in Beverly Hills.

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