Injuries to the pectoralis major muscle: diagnosis and management

Am J Sports Med. 2010 Aug;38(8):1693-705. doi: 10.1177/0363546509348051.


Injuries to the pectoralis major muscle are relatively infrequent but result in pain, weakness, and deformity of the upper extremity. The usual injury mechanism is during eccentric shortening of the pectoralis major under heavy load, such as when performing a bench press exercise. The ability to detect and treat a pectoralis major rupture is important for both the clinician and the patient and is aided with knowledge of the anatomy, the clinical findings, and results of nonoperative and operative care. It is important to understand the physical demands and desires of the patient as well as to understand the outcomes of both nonoperative and operative care to make an informed decision regarding optimal treatment. This article highlights the importance of the clinical examination in identifying the injury, examines various surgical techniques to repair the rupture, and reports on potential complication and reinjury rates.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Pectoralis Muscles / anatomy & histology
  • Pectoralis Muscles / blood supply
  • Pectoralis Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Pectoralis Muscles / injuries*
  • Pectoralis Muscles / physiology
  • Physical Examination
  • Radiography
  • Ultrasonography
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*