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Pectoralis Major Ruptures - Orthopedic Surgeon (Dallas, Frisco, DFW))

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About Pectoral Ruptures

Pectoralis major tendon rupture, also known as a pec tear, is a rare yet painful injury of the muscles or tendons of the chest. This injury is common in athletes (men and women) who max out their muscles in the weight room while performing the bench press. It can also happen on the football field during powerful tackles or on the wrestling mat when a move causing a trauma to the chest. When a pectoralis major tendon ruptures, the intense pain materializes instantly. There may be dark bruising and swelling in the area above the armpit and a deformity as well. If you suffer from this type of injury, please make receiving medical assistance a high priority, because you will increase your chances for a full recovery. 

Injury Symptoms

Pain is an immediate symptom of a pectoralis major tendon rupture. Bruising and swelling on the arm and chest is evident (right above the armpit). There is a dramatic difference in the patient’s range of motion and a noticeable decrease in strength in the effected arm. Many athletes and body builders have also reported that they heard the “snap” of the tendon as it separated while they were lifting weights. Even though this type of injury is rare, it does require urgent medical attention.

Types of Ruptures

Once an MRI or an ultrasound has been completed, we can then distinguish what type of ruptures has occurred. There are four types (full or partial) of pectoralis major tendon ruptures:

  • Pectoral muscle torn completely or partially off the long, upper arm bone (humerus bone)
  • A rupture within the pectoral muscle
  • A total or partial separation between the muscle and the tendon
  • A rupture of the pectoral muscle or tendon at the breastbone (sternum)

Surgery is necessary for athletes and active patients wishing to regain their strength to continue with their normal activities.


When a pectoralis major tendon rupture happens, most patients will immediately seek medical attention from an emergency room or their primary care physician. An MRI, X-ray, or ultrasound can detect this type of injury and once found, an orthopedic surgeon will be needed. Surgery is generally the best option in treating pectoralis major tendon tears, especially for athletes wanting to return to sporting activities. This involves an outpatient surgery with some scarring above the armpit and will require physical therapy for 3-6 months after the operation.

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Regain Your Strength Today

We want you on the road to recovery, and we work hard to deliver personal, complete orthopedic care in regards to your treatment. To ensure proper healing and the ability to work at your maximum potential, you will need the help of a trusted orthopedic practice to attain those goals. Please call and request a consultation with our expert shoulder surgeon today. End your pain and deteriorating strength that accompany this rare pectoral injury. 

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.