The Pectoralis Major is a strong muscle located on the chest, responsible for moving the arm to the front of the body and assisting with pushing-type activities. The tendon attachment on the upper arm on the front of the shoulder can be subjected to tremendous amounts of stress, which can lead to tearing of the tendon, during physical activities like weight-lifting and bench-pressing or abrupt push-off motions like in football linemen. This injury can cause significant pain, with associated weakness and deformity around the chest.

Pectoralis major tendon tears usually occur with intense contraction of the muscle as is seen during heavy bench-press exercises. A painful “pop” is felt and significant bruising occurs. Sometimes a bulge is seen in the chest as the muscle retract to the middle, or a void can be felt on the front of the armpit area. Resulting weakness can become prominent, especially as the pain subsides, and can make lifting-type activities challenging.
Diagnosis is made by the patient’s history and the findings on physical examination. X-rays are frequently obtained to rule out other injuries, and MRI scan helps define the location and degree of tendon damage.
Treatment depends on several factors, some of which include the nature of the tear, the amount of debility, patient age, occupation and activity level as well as the time from injury and the functional expectations and health of the patient. Often, surgery is required to help you regain good, pain free function, and long-term shoulder health.

At Oceana Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, Dr Aboka performs pectoralis major tendon tear repair with modern minimally invasive fixation techniques that minimize additional trauma to the area while achieving secure fixation that allows earlier return to normal daily activity. This procedure is performed on an outpatient/same-day surgery basis, and leads to less pain and scarring and quicker recovery, and much improved outcomes.