When you have a ruptured tendon, you have partially or completely torn connective tissue where a muscle connects to bone. When it involves your bicep, the rupture can occur near your shoulder in the proximal bicep tendons or by your elbow in the distal bicep tendon. However, no matter which bicep tendon sustains damage, they can each be equally painful and interfere with daily life.
At Tadje Orthopaedics, Dr. Jared Tadje offers nonsurgical and surgical treatments to people in Meridian, Idaho. If you have any of these problems, you could have a bicep rupture.
In most cases, the first sign of a torn bicep tendon involves sudden, sharp, and severe pain. This occurs either in the upper arm or elbow, depending on which tendon you injure. Pain often increases with activity, though you may notice your symptoms easing after a few weeks.
It’s also common to experience a pop, snapping, or tearing sensation at the moment of injury.
You have your bicep tendons to thank for two distinct arm movements: bending and rotating. Most tendon ruptures impact the shoulder tendon, making it difficult to rotate your arm so your palm can face up or down.
If you injure your distal tendon, you can still rotate your arm. However, you could have problems flexing and straightening your elbow.
While your arm still works when you have a ruptured bicep tendon, the muscle groups involved in their movements can’t perform properly. This can lead to weakness, especially in activities that require palm-up actions, like heavy lifting or using a screwdriver to tighten screws.
A distinct bulge
Does your bicep look different? People often refer to the distinct bulge from a bicep rupture as a “Popeye deformity” or “Popeye muscle.” This symptom develops when the disconnected muscle clumps together because a tendon no longer keeps it stretched in place.
Similarly, you can also develop a gap or indentation in front of your elbow if you tear your distal bicep tendon.
Recognizing your risks
Another way to spot a bicep rupture involves understanding your personal risks. That’s because these types of injuries can occur from a traumatic event like falling and landing on your arm or through chronic overuse.
Factors that can increase your risk of bicep tendon injury include:
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Being older or male
- Having other shoulder problems, like a rotator cuff tear
- Engaging in repetitive motions, either with hobbies, sports, or work
- Lifting heavy objects with straight arms
- Taking certain medications, like corticosteroids
If you have a bicep tear or rupture, Dr. Tadje could recommend a variety of treatments. Treatments for these injuries vary based on severity, ranging from rest and physical therapy to minimally invasive surgery.
Depending on your injury, it can take anywhere from two to 12 months to fully recover.
Do you have bicep pain? Contact Tadje Orthopaedics to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan by calling 208-515-2654 or booking online today.