Pec Major Tear

A pectoralis major tear refers to a tear or rupture of the pectoralis major muscle, which is a large muscle located in the chest region. The pectoralis major muscle is responsible for various movements of the shoulder and arm, including flexion, adduction, and internal rotation.

Pectoralis major tears most commonly occur during activities that involve heavy weightlifting, forceful movements, or direct trauma to the chest. These injuries are more frequently seen in athletes engaged in sports such as weightlifting, football, rugby, or martial arts.

There are two main types of pectoralis major tears:

  1. Partial Tear: A partial tear involves damage to a portion of the muscle fibres. This may result in pain, swelling, weakness, and limited range of motion in the affected shoulder and arm.
  2. Complete Tear: A complete tear refers to a full rupture of the pectoralis major muscle, where the muscle is completely separated from its attachment to the upper arm bone (humerus). This type of tear typically causes significant pain, swelling, bruising, and a visible deformity or “popping” sensation in the chest or armpit area. It can also lead to weakness and functional limitations in the shoulder and arm.


shoulder pec major

Pectoralis Major

The pectoralis major is a large muscle of the anterior chest. It gives shape to the anterior contour of your shoulder.

shoulder pec major tear

Pec Major Tear

Tearing of the pectoralis major can lead to bruising, swelling and loss of the contour of your anterior shoulder.

shoulder pec major repair

Pec Major Repair

Repair of pectoralis major tear involves re-attaching the tendon back to its original footprint.


The most common presentation of a pec major tear is a sudden pop that is felt at the front of the shoulder with pain, swelling and bruising. This usually occurs during resisted internal rotation, for example while closing a heavy door or during a footy tackle. Some other symptoms may include:

  • A visible Gap: The injured area may be tender to the touch, and there may be a noticeable gap or indentation in the chest wall where the muscle has torn
  • Deformity: As the pec major provides shape to your anterior (front) chest, a pec major tear may cause visible deformity, where the contour of your chest is lost, especially when comparing to your uninjured side.
  • Limited Range of Motion & Weakness: You may experience a decreased range of motion in the shoulder and arm, particularly when trying to move the arm across the chest.


Treatment for a pectoralis major tear depends on the severity and location of the tear, as well as your functional goals and activity level. Non-surgical treatment may be considered for partial tears or cases where the tear is not causing significant functional limitations. This can involve rest, activity modification, pain management, physical therapy exercises, and rehabilitation to regain strength and range of motion.

Surgical intervention is often recommended for complete tears. Surgery aims to reattach the torn muscle to its anatomical insertion point on the humerus. Following surgery, a period of immobilisation and rehabilitation is typically required to restore muscle strength and function.

Get Expert Help

If you have injured your shoulder, it is important to get your shoulder evaluated and perform appropriate diagnostic tests. Dr. Arthur Turow will provide expert assessment of your injury and recommend a tailored treatment for your specific injury to help you achieve the best outcome.

Please use above information as a guide only. More detailed information specific to your condition and your recovery will be given in your consultation with Dr. Arthur Turow, who will also provide additional resources to supplement your discussion. For more information, please contact the rooms of Dr. Arthur Turow on (08) 8236 4179.