The pectoralis minor muscle - the small chest muscle

Requiring a lot of strength from the pectoralis minor muscle can possibly lead to complaints. We see this in, for example, power athletes or boxers. Symptoms that occur with complaints of the pectoralis minor muscle are chest pain and pain at the front of the shoulder. Furthermore, you can have difficulty lifting your arm and a change in your posture can occur.

The physiotherapists of Fysiofitaal Tilburg are able to diagnose a problem of the pectoralis minor. The treatment depends on the severity. If there is damage, the treatment starts with relative rest followed by exercise therapy. Other problems can be treated with a combination of pain reduction, muscle lengthening, change of posture and/or increasing the load capacity.


The origin of the pectoralis minor muscle is the 3rd, 4th and 5th rib. The muscle runs from there to the ravenous protrusion (processus coracoideus), which is part of the shoulder blade. This muscle can pull the scapula down (depression), pull it forward (protraction), turn it inward (endorotation) and can help with breathing. As you can see, this muscle mainly has functions related to the shoulder girdle. Here it mainly has a stabilizing function.

Repeatedly asking great strength of this muscle can cause symptoms. We see this during movements in which the arm is turned away from the body and to the outside. So, strength athletes mainly experience this force when they bench press or shoulder press. Also in contact sports, such as boxing, such complaints occur. In addition, complaints of the pectoralis minor muscle may occur due to a lack of variation in position.


Symptoms that occur with this complaint are pain in the chest, pain at the front of the shoulder and pain between the shoulder blades. There can also be a different position of the shoulder because the pectoral muscle can pull the shoulder forward (protraction). The inner side of the shoulder blade can also be pulled up (winging). It is common for people with symptoms of the pectoral muscle to have trouble lifting their arm.


Recognizing problems with the pectoralis minor muscle can be difficult. This is because it is often seen as a problem of the pectoralis major muscle. Through the interview and examination, the physical therapist is able to determine problems with the pectoralis minor muscle. In addition, an ultrasound can help to determine any damage to the tendon.


If the complaint is one of these, physiotherapy is recommended. If the complaint concerns damage to the tendon insertion, relative rest for two to four weeks will be advised. If necessary a sling can be used to provide more support. The period of relative rest will be followed by exercise therapy. The average duration of rehabilitation is twelve weeks. In other musculus pectoralis minor complaints, the physical therapist can help by lengthening the muscles (stretching), strengthening the muscles (exercises) and pain relief using muscle techniques.

Do you have Pectoralis minor complaints or pain during bench press? Make an appointment with one of our therapists.