There are basically two types of bicep muscle tears, the partial and the complete tears. While a partial bicep muscle tear will not completely sever the tendon from the bone, complete tear will result in splitting the tendon into two pieces. Initial damage to the tendon may be in the form of fraying. However, if the activities causing the fraying are not checked, it can progress to a partial or complete tendon tear. Recognizing the muscle injury can help you provide appropriate treatment and prevent such injuries in future.
What Causes Bicep Muscles to Tear?
Injuries to the arm are the most common cause of torn muscles. In instances where you fall hard on an outstretched arm or lift something too heavy, you can tear your bicep tendon. Usually an injury that occurs with heavy weightlifting or sports in middle-aged men leads to distal biceps tendon ruptures, at the elbow joints. In addition, there are many jobs which require heavy overhead lifting and subject the tendons to excess wear and tear.
Many times the wearing down and fraying of the bicep muscles that occurs slowly over time, can lead to a tear in the bicep muscles. Although, this usually happens with age, overuse and activities that strain your shoulder can cause not only the muscles to tear but also other shoulder problems which include tendonitis, shoulder impingement and rotator cuff injury. Repetitive overhead sports, such as swimming or tennis can lead to muscle fatigue and increase the chances of the fraying of the bicep muscles.
Age can also be a factor for fraying of the bicep tendon, with older people having put up more years of wear and tear on their tendons.
Using certain corticosteroid medicines can lead to muscle and tendon weakness. In case of a situation where long-term and continuous use of such medicines is necessary, this weakness may aggravate, causing the tendons to fray and ultimately tear.
Identifying a Torn Bicep Muscle
The most common symptom of a muscle tear is a sudden and sharp pain in the upper arm, accompanied by the cramping of the arm even after usage that is otherwise tolerable in a healthy individual. Sometimes, when the muscle detaches itself from the bones, you can hear an audible "pop!" There is also muscle pain and tenderness at the shoulders and elbows. Most of the time, there is a difficulty in turning the palm up or down. Due to the tearing of the muscles, a bulge or a bruise may appear on the upper arm.
Complete ruptures of the bicep muscles causes deformities of the arm muscle. However, as opposed to that, partial ruptures of the muscles are usually difficult to detect. For diagnosing it, the doctor may ask you to bend your arm and tighten the biceps muscle. Pain while using your bicep muscle may mean there is a partial tear.
Based on the severity of the injury, the treatment options will vary. While some injuries require non steroidal medications and physical therapy to heal and get restored to the original condition, serious bicep tendon injuries might require surgery. For those who suspect torn bicep muscles, the best advice is to see the doctor immediately. Remember, that when you workout while in pain, the injury may only worsen leading to a permanent damage.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.