Pectoral muscle ruptures are a rare injury with only 447 cases reported in the literature since they were first described in 1822. However, over 200 were reported after the year 2000.
This indicates a rise in the number of injuries in the past 20 years. This could be due to the increase in athletic participation and sports activities and a growing interest in weight lifting in the modern population.
How Does A Pectoral Muscle Rupture Occur?
Pectoral muscle ruptures occur when the pectoralis major tendon (the large muscle located in front of the chest wall) gets injured by an eccentric or violent contraction of the muscles.
More than 50% of these injuries occur among athletes. Weight-lifters, especially those who ‘bench press’, are more susceptible to pectoral muscle rupture.
Other incidents where pectoral muscle rupture can occur include wrestling, rugby, football, and any other forceful activities. Traumatic injuries can also cause a pectoral muscle rupture.
Symptoms of a Pectoral Muscle Rupture
A pectoralis major muscle rupture can be identified by a sudden pain often accompanied by a tearing sensation in the chest. Other symptoms include:
- Pain in the upper arm and chest
- Weakness in the arms when pushing them outwards
- Bruising and swelling around the chest and arm
- Formation of a pocket above the armpit where the muscle rupture has occurred
- Loss or thinning of the auxiliary fold
- Weakness in the shoulder adduction
Treatment of Pectoral Muscle Rupture
In the case of a complete tear of the pectoralis major muscle, surgery is the most recommended and effective method of treatment. The surgical repair should be done in a timely fashion preferably in the early period after the injury.
The level of the surgical process required depends on the several patient factors as well as the location and extent of the tear and the chronicity of the condition. However, there is strong evidence that shows that surgical management is the best course of action for complete repair and speedy recovery of the patient.
People who have partial tears in the muscle can avoid surgery. Surgery is also not recommended for elderly people and low-demand patients.
How Can Pectoral Muscle Rupture Be Avoided?
Prevention is the best course of action when trying to avoid a pectoral muscle tear. Weight lifters and people who participate in contact sports should take proper measures to ensure less risk of injury.
Always wear protective gear and follow the instructions of a professional before attempting any forceful physical activities. Don’t undertake any activity that you might feel is above your body’s natural endurance and will result in a muscle strain.
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