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Stephen Baker 09-10-2008 03:31 PM

Pectoral rupture
I friggin' ruptured my peck today (benching on starting strength, last rep, last set), and it sucks really bad. MRI next week an surgery after that.

Has anyone had this, and what was the recovery time/process?


Eddie Gulley 09-13-2008 09:26 AM

Re: Pectoral rupture
A friend of mine ruptured (tore at upper insertion) his pec 20 years ago. I don't know him now to determine long term impact but he didn't have surgery at the time but it was over a year before he was ready to lift anything putting real strain on that side.

I do remember how horrible it looked. Entire upper half of his body was bruised a deep black and purple.

Hopefully 20 years of ortho advancement and I'm sure they can have you healthy real soon. I would say that you will want to maintain at least an aggressive lower body routine while it heals. If you can keep your cardio up and your lower body strength normal it will come back sooner than complete downttime.

Good luck. I'm in Franklin as well. I workout in my garage but have meant to get over there and check you guys out. You are at the old Southern Ice facility, correct?

Stephen Baker 09-15-2008 03:00 AM

Re: Pectoral rupture
Yeah. Come by any time.

Steven Quadros 09-15-2008 08:59 AM

Re: Pectoral rupture
How much were you benching if you don't mind me asking? Also, how wide or narrow a grip were you using?

Glenn Pendlay 09-15-2008 11:51 AM

Re: Pectoral rupture

I tore my right pec years ago. It was late at night at the Wichita Falls Athletic Club, around 11 or 12pm as I remember, I think Rip and I were the only ones there... anyway, I was trying to do this thing that we used to call a "candlestick" although I have no idea why. Basically you lay on a flat bench, grab the bench above your head with both hands, then lift your whole body off the bench except your shoulderblades... you try to go up and down like that, body straight and only the shoulder blades touching, and go from body pointing as straight up in the air as possible to body almost parallel with the bench without touching... pretty tough, for me at least, probably partially because I was over 300lbs at the time.

Anyway, I heard a "pop" and felt some pain, and sat up on the bench, and felt my pec, and noticed that there was a large "hollow" place right in the belly of the muscle, while there was a bulge of tissue near both the origin and insertion. So I knew I had torn most of it in half. Not having health insurance, I never got it fixed. It wasnt as painful as I would have thought, in fact, the next morning at 10am I actually snatched 303lbs, although I couldnt have bench pressed 100lbs, and the snatch did hurt a lot. I was basically able to continue training the olympic lifts with little or no interuption, but was never able to bench heavy again. I think the most I ever did after that was maybe 225lbs for a set of 10, not to good for someone who had done 315 for a set of 19 reps previously. Plus it always did hurt, still does, if I tried to do any direct chest work, like bench press or dumbell bench press.

This probably has little relevance to your experience, since you plan to have your fixed... but, thats my experience.


Stephen Baker 09-15-2008 05:43 PM

Re: Pectoral rupture
Thanks Glenn.

It was 195, fourth working set, fourth rep. Not much weight as I can usually do 235 five or six times pretty clean. I had a grip with ring fingers in the small smooth marks of the knurling. I was moving smooth and under control. Half way up... pop twice on my left pec. Sucked big time. Had one of my coaches lifting with me and she couldn't pull it off of my chest. I threw it off with my good arm, walked around for a few seconds. Sat down and passed completely out. Needless to say, it hurt like a mother.

Stephen Baker 09-16-2008 06:13 PM

Re: Pectoral rupture
Ok, MRI results are as follows:

1. Evidence of the pectoralis major muscle strain and avulsion of the tendon. Based on axial images retraction is estimated at 3cm. The pec minor tendon appears to remain in tact with minor muscle strain.

2. Rotator and ac joint are good.

My options are:
- Have surgery, they will slice me pretty largly on the front of the shoulder, lift the anterior delt, and screw the tendon back in place. Estimated recovery is 5 to 6 months with 90-95 percent recovery of max strength.

- Dont have surgery, recovery time 4 to 6 weeks, 75 - 80 percent max strength recovery, slight cosmetic difference at the armpit where the tendon would normally be (big deal, who cares).

I'm seriously considering no surgery. The time off out weighs the strength recovery. No max strength is not a big deal as long as endurance is still there.


Eddie Gulley 09-16-2008 07:24 PM

Re: Pectoral rupture

If it were me, I know its not :), I would seriously think about the surgery. Surgery always sounds like a scary option but good ortho surgeons work wonders these days. Maybe a second opinion would work. I've heard great things about the Sports Medicine guys on Aspen Grove in Franklin.

The recovery time may sound like a long time but you have many years left to enjoy 90-95% strength for a serious amount of down-time. Besides you can always focus on lower body and endurance while you recover.

Just my 2 cents.

Whatever you decide to do, I seriously hope the best for you.

Kevin J. Fleming 09-19-2008 10:54 AM

Re: Pectoral rupture
I have had pectoral tendon surgery. I dropped a weight on myself (one side was racked and the other one wasn’t). This caused the tendon to be stretched, causing severe pain (further tearing/stretching) during torso rotation (e.g, shooting in hockey). The MRI showed nothing (although my entire arm was purple after the injury) and I had to switch Drs. to find one willing to open me up and try to fix me. The tendon had to be cut in half and re-attached to itself to make it the proper length.

My pec on that side is kind of bunched to the center and the most I benched post-surgery was 185 for 10 reps (prior to surgery I could do 260 for ten reps). The biomechanics are also off, which caused problems with the shoulder on the same side. However, most importantly, I have now have no problem with torso rotation.

Mike Matulonis 09-21-2008 06:47 AM

Re: Pectoral rupture
Stephen I am going through the same thing right now but tore my pec. where it attaches to my shoulder. It has been almost two months and I cannot to a pushup, benchpress etc. The only way to fix it is surgery which should be scheduled within the next month. The good thing with crossfit is I am still able to train my core. Doing a lot of back exten., ab work, lunges, squats etc. The Dr. said I was looking at up to a 6 month recovery till I get the 100% nod to do everything prior to surgey. Let me know how you make out and I will do the same. Was very discouraged at first but i know i will have one strong core by the time this is done. Hope everything works out and try to stay positive.

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