Pec Tear – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

A complete pec tear can be a pretty nasty injury. The chest muscle will roll up under the skin towards the sternum like a carpet. The chest is one of the most worked muscles in the weight room. Doing exercises like pushups and bench press can help you gain mass in the chest, but if you do not take care of a muscle while it grows, it could lead to issues like a pectoralis tear. The road back to health from a pec tear is long and hard. The best way to avoid taking that trip is to focus on injury prevention. 

Pec Tear Anatomy

The pec is a large muscle that covers your true ribs. Many people only think of the ribs as floating ribs, but your true ribs protect your lungs and heart. The pecs also cover a portion of the sternum on both sides of the body. The insertion of the chest and where it often tears is on the humerus.

The pec function is primarily for the movement of the shoulder joint. The chest is working when you:

  • Adduct your arms
  • Flexion of the humerus like when you pick up a child
  • Extension of Elbow
  • Medial rotation of humerus like when arm wrestling

When you suffer a pec tear, it can be a massive roadblock to your daily movements. Simple things like picking up a child, throwing a ball, and getting up from a chair can become more painful with pectoralis tear.

Causes of Pec Tear

A pec tear will almost always happen suddenly when working at a high intensity. The high-intensity work most often occurs in the weight room when working the pectoral muscles including exercises like bench press, chest presses, or pectoral fly. It is also a common injury among older athletes that do not take the time to warm up properly.

Symptoms of Pec Tear

  • Sudden tearing sensation
  • Unable to finish lift being done
  • Visible deformity in muscle
  • Inability to stretch pec
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weakness

Diagnosis of Pec Tear

An evaluation from a doctor or a sports medicine healthcare provider is usually sufficient enough to tell if you have a pec tear. The muscle is so large and is used for so many different movement. If the evaluation is not conclusive, then a doctor may order an MRI, CT Scan, Ultra Sound or X-Ray to be sure of what is going on.

Treatment of Pec Tear

The first thing you need to do to heal a pec tear is rest. You should not do any benching or any other movements that cause any pain or discomfort in the chest. The muscle cannot heal and be worked at the same time. For the minor tears and the tears that are more sudden, you can be back working out in a few weeks. You should go and get some manual therapy during this time, and get a game plan on the best return to action. The problem with doing this on your own is that most people tend to move too quickly through this process.

If you have a complete tear, you will need to work with an orthopedic surgeon to get surgery, and then work with a Physical therapist to rehab back to being healthy. The entire process could take up to a year to get done.

Pec Tear Prevention

No one wants to miss a year of bench pressing because of a pectoralis tear. The best way to avoid this injury altogether is to focus on preventing the injury.  The first thing you should always do when doing any exercises is to warm that muscle up properly. If you are going to do a heavy chest day, start off with doing ten simple push-ups and work your way up to heavier weights. You should be sweating a bit by the time you go for the heavyweight.

The second thing you can do is stretch on a daily basis. Do not allow your chest muscles to get super tight from working them all the time. The last thing you want to make sure that you do is to get regular chest massages. What chest massages are going to do for you is relieve the muscle of knots and trigger points that build up and decrease the efficiency of the muscle.

Trapezius Stretches

Finding The Best Local Sports Medicine Providers for a Pec Tear

9INE POINT Health is the best place to start your search for a health care provider to help you stay healthy. The key to success as an athlete is staying healthy and making sure the injuries are dealt with appropriately. Any athlete that lifts a lot is at more risk of a pec tear, and the key to success as an athlete is staying healthy.

9INE POINT Health lets you search for providers by type and skill. For example, you can look for a Physical Therapist with any skill set you need. It does not matter what kind of provider you need, 9INE POINT Health can help you find them and help you to sort through their skills.

If you are unsure where to start your journey, 9INE POINT Health will ask you questions and help you figure out the best starting place. All you have to do is answer a few questions. From there, 9INE POINT Health will connect you with the type of provider best suited for your needs. It does not matter if you are injured or making sure you don’t run into a pec tear.

The platform makes it easy to compare health providers as they are all given a 9INE POINT Number. How do you decide which healthcare providers are the best? Reading bios and reviews is just not enough because you need more than that.

Skill Sets to Look for In Sports Medicine Providers When Dealing with a Pec Tear

Skill sets are the things healthcare providers learn after they graduate. A healthcare provider can take courses and get certifications for different skill sets. These skill sets are valuable and help them approach injuries from different perspectives so that you can get the best help at the right time for any pec tear issues.

KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.

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9INE POINT Health was created by 9INE POINT in '19 as a means to provide athlete-driven resources to "Protect Athletes' Minds, Body and Belly". As well as be a platform for healthcare providers and other specialists to display their knowledge.


9INE POINT Health was created by 9INE POINT in '19 as a means to provide athlete-driven resources to "Protect Athletes' Minds, Body and Belly". As well as be a platform for healthcare providers and other specialists to display their knowledge.


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