Jock Doc

Painful chest is likely torn pectoral muscle

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Lebron James holds his strained left pectoral muscle during practice Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005 in Cleveland.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Lebron James holds his strained left pectoral muscle during practice Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005 in Cleveland. AP

Q. I am 30 years old and like to work out. Last week, while lifting heavy weights, I felt a sharp pain and a tearing sensation in the right side of my chest.

I went to urgent care where they took x-rays and said it was probably a muscle strain. They gave me a sling and said if it is still bothering me in a few days to see an orthopedic surgeon.

My chest and right arm have turned black and blue and I feel weak when reaching across my chest. I also have some swelling in the chest region. What could be wrong and what should be my next step?

A. From the description of your injury, you likely tore your pectoral major muscle or tendon.

The pectoral muscle helps guide your arm across your body. An acute injury can result in pain, weakness and bruising. If there is a lot of swelling, a defect in the muscle can be missed.

You should see an orthopedic surgeon as quickly as possible to help establish an accurate diagnosis. An MRI scan can be very helpful in diagnosing the extent of the tear and whether it involves the muscle or if the tendon is torn off the bone.

In a young athletic person like yourself, a torn tendon usually requires surgery to fix the defect and restore normal strength. Muscles injuries may not require surgery but can result in some permanent weakness and deformity.

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

  Comments