Pectoralis Major Injury During Basic Airborne Training

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McIntire S, Boujie L, Leasiolagi J 16(3). 11 - 14 (Journal Article)

Injuries involving rupture of the pectoralis major are relatively rare. When they do occur, it is mostly frequently in a young, athletic man. The most common cause is weight lifting that results in eccentric muscle contraction (muscle contraction against an overbearing force, leading to muscle lengthening)-specifically, the bench press. Other mechanisms for this injury include forceful abduction and external rotation of the arm. Injury can occur anywhere along the pectoralis major from its medial origin on the sternum and clavicle to its lateral tendinous insertion on the humerus. At the time of injury, patients may report feeling a tearing sensation or hearing a pop, with immediate onset of pain. Physical examination findings can include a deformed appearance of the chest, ecchymosis of the chest and upper arm, pain and weakness with arm adduction and internal rotation, or noticeable asymmetry of the anterior axilla with arm abduction. Magnetic resonance imaging is the imaging study of choice to aid diagnosis. In a young and active population, such as the Special Operations community, appropriate and timely diagnosis is important because surgical intervention often is recommended. This report presents the case of an active-duty Servicemember who sustained a pectoralis major injury while exiting an aircraft during the Basic Airborne Course.

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