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Rupture of the pectoral major
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By zach ruswick
Jul 22, 2013
Hot n'Bothered 5.10b on the Long Wall at Summersville Lake. Photo by Doug DiJulio

I recently suffered an injury that is very likely a ruptured pectoralis major, where the pectoral muscle attaches to the humerus. I am wondering if anyone has had a similar experience, and what returning to climbing is like? The general consensus seems to be 4 to 6 months for returns to pre-injury levels of performance, but the responses were limited to weight lifters and sports other than climbing.


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By Jesse Newton
From catskills
Jul 22, 2013
slide mtn, 4180 catskills

I've had complete tear of labrum, rotator and grade 2 ac joint separation. My bicep has been stitched back into my shoulder aswell... take it easy work into pulling exercises gently...focusing on stability first over strength. pushing exercises I can barely do, but pull ups unlimited given proper conditioning. good luck with everything, time practice patience... happy trails.


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By George Bracksieck
Jul 23, 2013

I ruptured my right pec in 1994. I was leading the last (3rd) pitch of Lightning Bolt Cracks on N 6-Shooter. I had no med insurance at the time, so I didn't go to a doc. I tried climbing too soon afterward (4 wks), and I could feel tearing of what little scar tissue that was attempting to re-attach the pec to my shoulder. Seven weeks after, I led the first pitch of Lizard Head in the Colorado San Juans and felt as if I had little control over where I put my right hand. After a few more months, I was climbing more difficult routes but my tennis serve never regained its power and now is too painful. Just lobbing a tennis ball hurts. My max dumbbell bench press is 15 lbs, and is painful, so I rarely do it. All because I was a dumbbell about treating my injury.

I never regained my pec. I look as if I had a mastectomy (leaving me only the nipple!). In 2005, before the second replacement of my right shoulder, the surgeon said that I should have had surgery to address the huge tear (rupture) of the pec IMMEDIATELY AFTERWARDS. Today I climb well, but without much of my former strength. My shoulder is fragile, and I have constant pain. All of these problems result mostly from that pec rupture. Point is: Don't ask us what you should do with a pec rupture; see a surgeon.


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By Brian in SLC
Jul 23, 2013
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

I ruptured mine. Took the bugger completely off the humerus. Was around 20 years ago. My chest on my right side was concave. Very little pain, oddly enough, but I did go into significant shock when it happened.

Had surgery in early June to reattach it. PT through the summer. Was climbing again by September. Full range of motion.

Way more nervous that the other side would go without a warning. I was on a steep sport route when I ruptured mine. Had pulled out to rest before the final bit, kinda winged out with my arms outstretched, and, just balancing side to side when it tore and came off the bone. Felt weird, like it slid off, slowly. You know, like when you get that last piece of good meat of a T bone...(seriously).

Anyhoo, highly recommend getting it fixed. Plenty of power and pect pops just fine. I never did much heavy bench press type lifting again (280lb was my max), but, I probably could have if I'd wanted to put in the effort.

To this day I do guard it, though. Kinda gave up on steep hard (for me at least) sports climbing especially any move that requires me to have my arms loaded hard when outstretched to my sides.


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