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Home :: Arm Strain, Upper Arm

Arm Strain, Upper Arm

Injury to the muscles or tendons connected to the humerus, the bone in the upper arm. Muscles, tendons and bone comprise units. These units stabilize the elbow and shoulder joints and allow 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 11)- 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

  • Muscles of the upper arm.
  • Tendons of the upper-arm muscles.
  • Humerus, the bone of the upper arm.
  • 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 upper arm.
  • Single violent injury or force applied to the upper arm.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain when moving or stretching the upper arm.
  • Muscle spasm of the Injured muscles.
  • Swelling in the upper arm.
  • Loss of strength in the upper arm (moderate or severe strain).
  • Crepitation ("crackling") feeling and sound when the injured area is pressed with fingers.
  • Calcification of the muscle or its tendon (visible with X-rays).
  • Inflammation of the tendon sheath.

Treatment

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

  • Use ice massage 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minute at a time. Fill a large Styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of loam from 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.
  • Use proper protective equipment such as shoulder pads.

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