Pectoral Muscle Torn: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Joseph Rosi
April 27, 2023

Pectoral Muscle Torn: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A torn pectoral muscle is a painful injury that can significantly impact your ability to perform daily activities or participate in sports and weightlifting. The pectoral muscle is a large muscle located in the front of your chest that is responsible for moving your upper arm and shoulder. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for a torn pectoral muscle, as well as ways to prevent this injury from occurring.

What is a torn pectoral muscle?

Anatomy of the pectoralis major muscle

The pectoralis major muscle is a powerful muscle that is divided into two parts: the clavicular head and the sternal head. It originates from the clavicle, sternum, and ribs and inserts into the humerus bone of the upper arm. The pectoralis major works together with other chest muscles to perform a variety of movements, including pushing, pulling, and lifting such as a bench press exercise.

Causes of a torn pectoral muscle

A torn pectoralis muscle is usually caused by a sudden and severe injury that places stress on the muscle. This can occur during weightlifting exercises such as the bench press or when performing other activities that involve pushing or pulling heavy objects. In some cases, a tear or partial tear may occur due to overuse or repetitive strain on the muscle.

Symptoms of a torn pectoral muscle

The most common symptom of a torn pectoral muscle is a sudden and sharp tearing sensation in the front of your chest or near the armpit. Other symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising, weakness, and difficulty moving your arm or shoulder. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

How is a torn pectoral muscle diagnosed?

Physical examination

Your doctor will perform a physical examination to assess the severity of your injury. They will check for swelling, bruising, and pain in the affected area, as well as your range of motion and muscle strength. Your doctor may ask you to perform specific movements to test the function of your pectoral muscle.  An example of this is checking the contours of the muscle line and seeing if they are apparent or not.