Friday, June 8, 2012

Surgery Progress Week 1

On May 1, 2012 I suffered my second pectoral tendon rupture (tear) of my life. I tore my left pectoral muscle/tendon back in 1996 which I elected to not have repaired. Why? No idea. I was 22 or 23 at the time and as college student, that was worried I wouldn't be able to haul kegs around for parties. Instead, I listened to the procedure described by the attending physician and opted to not get it repaired and sacrifice a little deformity in the chest wall. I wrote about my first pec tear ordeal here.

Fast-forward to 2012, and I have been bench pressing for 16 years. Although, my bench pressing had been lacking because of the pronounced weakness in my left torn side, it had actually gotten better over the years. I never went over 250 lbs. My working weight was somewhere between 185-225 pounds:

Injuries suck. And even fit, healthy people suffer injureis It's the price we pay for pushing our bodies to boundaries. My right pectoral muscle tore a few weeks ago and I had known what I had done because of the sheer pain and searing hot "shot" that I felt across my chest. It sounds very similar to a wet towel being ripped  in two pieces. Actually, it kinda sounds like this (and no, that is not me in the video):

The pectoral muscle is a very large muscle. As a whole, it adducts and medially rotates the humerus. It also draws the scapula anteriorly and inferiorly. I know you probably think that the core does much of the bracing in this exercise video below, but you'd be surprised how much of the pectoralis major and minor are involved in this movement:

You don't know what you got until its gone. And that is 100% true. A tendon tear comes without warning. There are no warning signs when you have a complete rupture. Its not like the Hollywood movies where you see the rope is starting to fray and the hero is swinging at the rope's end. The tendon---which is designed to be VERY strong--simply snaps. Some possible reasons?

1.) Age
2.) Repetitive loading, stress, and changes in tensile properties
3.) Volume, frequency, and loads
4.) Joint angle at time of sub-maximal loading
5.) Bad luck

It can also be a combination of all reasons mentioned above. Thankfully, I found a good orthopedic surgeon who educated me on the procedure, recovery and expectations. I consoled with my wife and sought advice from colleagues who had suffered the same injury and 23 days later, I was in the operating room in at 10:30am and out at 4:30pm. At 1:30pm the next day, I was in the physical therapy facility starting with gentle range of motion exercises. Yes, that quick!

I am a little behind on showcasing my week to week progress, but here is week 1 of my progress video series. If you follow my YouTube channel, you will find the next week. Check out the video and safe lifting!

Thanks for watching and enjoy your weekend!


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