Rectus abdominis muscle tear diagnosed with sonography and its conservative management



This is a rare case of a post-traumatic rectus abdominis muscle tear in an adolescent female diagnosed by ultrasonography (US). Conservative management is also described.


A 14-year-old female presented to a chiropractic clinic with extreme pain and tenderness in the right lower quadrant (RLQ) after post-plyometric power kneel box jumps. Movement aggravated her pain and she demonstrated active abdominal guarding with RLQ palpation. Ultrasonography revealed a subacute Grade 2 right rectus abdominis muscle tear, without evidence of hyperemia or a hematoma. Following the diagnosis of a right rectus abdominis muscle tear, she was treated with spinal manipulation and a course of musculoskeletal rehabilitation directed at truncal stabilization.


After treatment, the patient was able to return to play 5 week post-injury without any pain or discomfort. A follow-up US at 3 months provided evidence of muscle healing without complications.


This case demonstrates the diagnosis of a rare rectus abdominis muscle tear managed conservatively. To our knowledge, less than a dozen cases are reported using US in the evaluation and diagnosis of a rectus abdominis tear.

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Correspondence to Ashley N. Ruff.

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Ruff, A.N., Cornelson, S.M., Panter, A.S. et al. Rectus abdominis muscle tear diagnosed with sonography and its conservative management. J Ultrasound 23, 401–406 (2020).

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  • Rectus abdominis tear
  • Ultrasonography
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Muscle tear
  • Rehabilitation