Jock Doc

When you tear your pectoral muscle, surgery is often necessary

Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade rests his shoulder during the first quarter of an NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Shoulder injuries can lead to muscle tears.
Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade rests his shoulder during the first quarter of an NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Shoulder injuries can lead to muscle tears. mocner@miamiherald.com

Q. I was working out in the gym and felt a pop in the front of my right shoulder. I had pain and noticed weakness bringing my arm across my body. I am 30 and right handed. I went to the emergency room and was told I just had a muscle strain. It stayed weak for 10 days. I went to an orthopedic doctor who said I tore my pect tendon off the bone, and after an MRI scan said I needed surgery. Will resting heal it or do I really need the surgery?

A. The pectoralis is a fan-shaped muscle that runs from the chest and attaches as a tendon to the front of the shoulder. Its function is to bring the arm across the body and rotate inward. If torn and not repaired, it can result in an unsightly deformity and permanent muscle weakness. This is a frequent injury in weight trainers, football players and male gymnasts.

In a young, active individual, surgery is usually the best option. The surgery involves retrieving the torn tendon and securing it back to the bone. A period of immobilization in a sling is followed by several months of rehab before returning to full sports competition. The success rate of the surgery is usually very good. The surgery is easier if done soon after the injury. I suggest you get treated as soon as possible.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.

  Comments