I’ve read every thread I could that addressed pec tear surgeries and subsequent recoveries. Seeing as it’s been 3+ years since the most recent post on the topic, I thought I would start a new thread to get a conversation going.
As a quick summary as to my background: I’m a 44 yo former athlete; I’ve been strength training for 30+ years and continue to do so because I just love it. I no longer compete in any sport, I just enjoy staying in shape, strong, and dangerous Long story short, training is part of my mental, physical, and spiritual health practice. My lifts are nothing special. I just love training.
On October 9, 2021 I was doing a typical upper body day. I hit my Wenning Warmups, then proceeded to a simple 5x5 flat bench. My flat bench max hovers between 330-340 lbs. I never truly max out. In fact, I rotate the flat bench in and out of my programming. On this particular day I was doing a 5x5 with 280 - a very sub-maximal weight with which I work often. I was on set 5, rep 2 when I felt the dreaded feeling in my right pec that is comparable to jeans tearing.
I soon began bruising pretty heavily down the inside portion of my right arm. I took ibuprofen sporadically and iced as often as possible over the next several days. On Tuesday, October 12, 2021, I went to an orthopedic doctor. He conducted a visual/physical examination, then did an ultrasound during which he could see some tearing, which prompted him to schedule me for an MRI.
My MRI was the morning of October 23, 2021. I received a call that following Monday asking me to come in for a surgical consult. My consult was on Thursday, October 28, at which time the doctor told me surgery was essential as the tendon needed to be reattached to the humerus, which would be accomplished via a “button”.
Surgery was Tuesday, November 2, 2021. I was in quite a bit of pain when I woke up from anesthesia. I used the pain medications extensively the following 2 days, but began weaning myself off of them on Friday (3 days post-op) and completely stopped using them by Sunday (5 days post-op). The day after surgery I had my first PT session in which he just moved the arm a bit and changed the dressing (no stitches, the incision was closed using glue).
One week post-op (November 9, 2021) I had my first “real” PT session. By this time, I had fabulous range-of-motion; I could completely move the arm on my own, including overhead, with very little pain. The main pain is at the attachment site, and (for some reason - seems weird to me) in my biceps when I try to flex. And just to be clear, this pain is not constant, just if I move my arm certain ways. At this PT session, as well as at the PT session on Friday, November 12, 2021, they had me do the following:
- Walkouts (stand with hands on a table, then walk backwards until arms are in an “overhead” type of position)
- Isometrics - arm hanging at side, press out on wall; arm bent at 90 degrees (as if shaking hands), press out on wall (outside of hand, away from body), then press in on wall (inside of hand, towards the body), then press towards the wall (fist on wall, like punching); arm bent at 90 degrees, elbow on the wall pushing back into the wall
- Shoulder shrugs
- scapula retractions
I have already noticed muscle atrophy and have been taking walks and keeping my calories in check to try to avoid as much fat gain as possible. I feel really good that they are already allowing me to do the isometrics, but I AM DYING not being able to lift. Has anyone on here gone through this surgery and recovery process? Anyone on here an expert on the topic so I can pick your brain? I’m now 5+ weeks since the injury and 2 weeks post surgery. I would love to be doing SOMETHING. I work out at home (free weights - barbell, dumbbells, rack, trap bar, etc), so I don’t have access to machines. I’m just hoping to lift SOMETHING. Perhaps some legs, some unilateral stuff on my left side (one arm DB press? etc…I’ve read how lifting your non-injured side can have positive effects on the injured side).
I’ll be purchasing a football/swiss bar when I’m able to begin pressing again. I think I’ll focus on utilizing that bar for quite some time before I press a standard barbell again. And when I do press with a standard barbell again I’ll definitely begin with partial ROM exercises (e.g., floor press, board press). I honestly feel so good 2 weeks post-surgery that I feel like I could do some very light pressing now, but I won’t until I have enough info to know I won’t put my repair in jeopardy. I would love to hear from some of you. I’ll take all the advice I can get! Even if some of us just commiserate together, haha.