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What is a bicep muscle tear?

A bicep muscle tear is a condition characterised by tearing of one or more tendons or muscle bellies of the bicep muscle and caused by stress and pressure on your biceps, which results in pain and weakness.

What causes a bicep muscle tear?

A biceps muscle tear is caused by sudden or excessive contraction of the biceps muscle. This commonly affects weightlifters and other athletes that forcefully use the arm, such as lifting weights overhead, forceful arm elevation activities or bending of the elbow against resistance (such as performing chin ups or biceps curls).

A biceps muscle tear may also be caused by gradual trauma associated with repetitive or prolonged activities placing strain on the biceps tendon.

Upper arm passive stretch and lymphatic drainage exercises applied by therapistAbove: Upper arm passive stretch and lymphatic drainage exercises applied by therapist

Diagnosis of a biceps tear

If you suspect you have torn your bicep a thorough examination from your GP or a physiotherapist will confirm a diagnosis. Further investigations such as an X-ray or MRI may also be required to rule out other injuries.

What are the symptoms/effects of a bicep muscle tear?

Symptoms of a bicep muscle tear include:
  • Sudden onset of pain in the front of the shoulder, upper arm or elbow
  • Swelling - the torn bicep looking bigger than the bicep on the opposite arm
  • Weakness - it may be difficult to bend your elbow or turn your palm upwards
  • Stiffness
  • Bruising

Physiotherapy for a bicep tear

Physiotherapy treatment at Manchester Physio is vital to promote the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and reduce the likelihood of future injury.

At Manchester Physio physiotherapy treatment will be focused on reducing pain, improving muscle strength and flexibility and returning you back to your sporting and everyday activities as soon as possible. Physiotherapy treatment at Manchester Physio may include:
  • Ice and heat therapy to relieve pain
  • Ultrasound to accelerate healing
  • Soft tissue massage to reduce discomfort and stiffness
  • Stretches to improve range of movement
  • Progressive muscle strengthening exercises
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Advice on how to modify your activity during your recovery
Your rehabilitation program will be suited to you which will emphasise a graded return to activity to ensure you make the best possible recovery.

For more information about physiotherapy for bicep muscle tear, or to book an appointment please call 0161 883 0077.

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