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6 Signs You May Have Torn Your Bicep

6 Signs You May Have Torn Your Bicep

Your biceps is one of the main muscles of your upper arm, between your shoulder and elbow. It’s attached to your bones with biceps tendons, which are fibrous bands of tissue that hold muscles firmly in place.

Both the biceps and its tendons are strong and flexible, but injury and overuse can lead to painful biceps tears that restrict your arm’s range of motion. 

If you have pain in your shoulder or arm, you may have torn your biceps — and you need an expert’s evaluation. The doctors at Manhattan Orthopedics can help. We specialize in diagnosing musculoskeletal conditions, and we’re here to recommend treatment to reduce pain and promote healing.

Wondering if your pain could be a biceps tear? Here are six of the most common symptoms we see.

1. Sharp, sudden pain

Biceps tears are categorized by their location and severity. The most common type of biceps tear occurs near your shoulder, where your biceps tendons attach to the joint, although they can also occur closer to your elbow.

Partial tears happen when only part of the muscle or tendons are torn. Complete tears split the biceps tendon into two separate pieces.

No matter where your biceps tear is, sharp, sudden pain is a common symptom. Both partial and complete tears are painful and can significantly compromise your arm’s mobility.

2. A noticeable popping sensation

Biceps tears that happen with a sudden injury are often immediately noticeable. Along with sharp pain, you might hear or feel a tearing sensation. an audible popping or snapping sound. Many people report hearing and feeling something like “snapping” or “popping.”

3. Bruising on your arm

Shortly after you tear your biceps, you may notice more symptoms developing. Bruising, swelling, and warmth around your upper arm are all possible. Bruising may extend from the middle of your upper arm down to your elbow.

4. Arm or shoulder pain

If you suffer an acute biceps tear, like a sports injury or a fall, sharp pain at the time of the injury is common. However, biceps that tear because of age-related degeneration or overuse typically develop more slowly.

Even if you don’t experience sharp pain, a biceps tear often causes ongoing pain and tenderness in your shoulder or arm. The pain may get progressively worse the longer the tear is left untreated.

5. Arm or shoulder weakness

Along with pain and tenderness in your arm, you may notice muscle weakness following a biceps injury. Torn biceps can cause weakness and fatigue in your shoulder or arm, depending on where the tear is located.

A torn biceps can also make it difficult for you to rotate your hand. For example, you may struggle to turn your palm facing up or down when you hold your arm out.

6. A visible bulge in the muscle

Healthy tendons keep your muscles stretched tightly against your bones. But if you have a torn biceps, the tendons may not be able to keep the muscles in place anymore. Instead, you may develop a distorted muscle in your upper arm, above your elbow.

Nicknamed the “Popeye muscle,” this bulge is one of the most visible signs of a torn biceps. Along with the bulge, you may have a dent at the top of your arm, closer to your shoulder. 

Do these symptoms sound familiar? Schedule an exam at Manhattan Orthopedics to find out if you could have a torn biceps. Contact us online, or call for the next available appointment.

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