Sports Medicine

, Volume 48, Issue 8, pp 1987–1988 | Cite as

The “Pectoral-Gap Phenomenon”: A Hypothesis on Origin and Mechanism

  • Sebastian Schnaubelt
  • Georgios Neophytou
  • Bernhard Richter
  • Hans Domanovits
  • Alexander Niessner
  • Patrick SulzgruberEmail author
Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Against a background of increasing interest and vivid discussion in the sports community including various social media, a “phenomenon” has come to the clinician’s attention that has not specifically been addressed in a scientific way before.

Emerging from a report on an American wrestling champion, the so-called “pectoral-gap phenomenon” raises questions. The athlete’s pectoral muscles seem to drift apart over the course of several years’ time, leaving a central space in the sternal region, as depicted in Fig.  1. In addition to this high-profile case involving an American wrestling champion, reports of an increasing number of athletes suffering from the same condition can be found in the social media. There it is hypothesized that recurrent micro trauma of muscle and surrounding tissue structures related to long-term body building, weight lifting, and wrestling might result in shrinking and symmetric lateral displacement of the medial portions of the pectoralis major...


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this letter.

Conflict of interest

Sebastian Schnaubelt, Georgios Neophytou, Bernhard Richter, Hans Domanovits, Alexander Niessner, and Patrick Sulzgruber declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this letter.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal MedicineMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department of OrthopedicsSozialmedizinisches Zentrum OstViennaAustria
  4. 4.Ludwig-Boltzmann-Cluster for Cardiovascular ResearchViennaAustria

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