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Health Tip

Home :: Arm Strain, Biceps

Arm Strain, Biceps Injury

Injury to the biceps muscle or tendon. The biceps muscle is a large muscle in the front of the upper arm. The muscle, tendon and attached bone comprise a unit. The unit stabilizes the elbow and shoulder joints and allows their motion. A strain occurs at the weakest part of a unit. Strains are of 3 types:

  • Mild (Grade I)-Slightly pulled muscle without tearing of muscle or tendon fibers. There is no loss of strength.
  • Moderate (Grade II)- Tearing of fibers in a muscle, tendon or at the attachment to bone. Strength is diminished.
  • Severe (Grade III)-Rupture of the muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation of fibers. Severe strain requires surgical repair. Chronic strains are caused by overuse. Acute strains are caused by direct injury or overstress.

BODY PARTS INVOLVED

  • Biceps muscle.
  • Biceps tendon.
  • Humerus and bones of the shoulder.
  • Soft tissue surrounding the strain, including nerves, periosteum (covering to bone), blood vessels and lymph vessels.

Causes

  • Prolonged overuse of muscle-tendon units In the biceps of the upper arm.
  • Single violent blow or force applied to the biceps

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain when moving or stretching the biceps muscle.
  • Muscle spasm.
  • Swelling around the injury.
  • Loss of strength (moderate or severe strain).
  • Crepitation ("crackling") feeling and sound when pressed with fingers.
  • Calcification of the muscle or tendon (visible with X-rays).
  • Inflammation of the sheath covering the tendon.

Treatment

Follow your doctor's instructions. These instructions are supplemental.

  • Use ice massage 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time. Fill a large Styrofoam cup and freeze. Tear a small amount of the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area In a circle about the size of a softball.
  • After the first 24 hours, apply heat instead of ice, if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads, or heat liniments and ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available Wrap the injured arm with an elasticized bandage between treatments.
  • Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling.

Home Diet

Eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity.

Prevention
  • Participate In a strengthening and conditioning program appropriate for your sport.
  • Warm up before practice or competition.
  • Wear proper protective equipment.

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