Can exercise fix Pectus Excavatum?

By | November 25, 2018

Be weary of online products or services that promise to help you fix your PE with exercise alone.

From an evidence-based medicine perspective, it is currently unknown whether exercise can “fix” your PE, depending on how you define “fix”. If you’re aiming to correct the underlying physical deformity (that is, inward shaping ribs and costal cartilage), exercise alone will not help. Exercise is used to remodel muscles, not bones, and unfortunately PE is not a muscular defect. However, PE can help with the appearance of your chest if you’re looking to build muscle. Large pectoral muscles can help mask the PE deformity, especially if it is mild.

There have been no large studies on this matter. If you’re looking to improve physiologic functioning using exercise, the most important thing to know is that you should be evaluated by physicians before starting an exercise regimen. People with Pectus can have underlying heart or lung problems, so it may be unsafe to exercise intensively unless adequately assessed by physicians prior to starting. In one very small study of 14 people with PE, a 12-week physical therapy program led to an improvement in respiratory function, but it is unknown whether this improvement persisted beyond 12 weeks. However, respiratory functional capacity was still lower than healthy controls. Larger studies are needed.

Let me know if you have questions by commenting below.