Q:

How do you diagnose torn bicep tendons?

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Quick Answer

Severe, sudden pain at the elbow or in the upper arm (depending on the point of injury) is the clearest symptom of a bicep tendon tear. Bruising, weakness, loss of function and a bulge showing that the tendon no longer is in place, are all signs, notes Cleveland Clinic.

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Full Answer

Bicep tendon tears generally result through overuse or through traumatic injury. With constant overuse, the tendon frays and eventually tears apart. An awkward twisting movement of the elbow or shoulder or falling down with the arm extended are two ways in which trauma can cause the tear. A third way involves lifting a heavy object with the bicep, such as a sleeper sofa. The tear can occur at the elbow or the shoulder, and the tear can be partial or complete. Complete tears rip away completely from the bone, as stated by Cleveland Clinic.

In addition to the sharp, severe pain, diagnosticians look for a bruise on the upper arm, near the point where the bicep attaches to the bone. Weakness in the elbow or shoulder comes from the loss of function that the tendon had formerly provided. Difficulty rotating the arm so that the palm faces downward instead of upward is another sign of a tear. Depending on the degree of the tear, surgery may or may not be necessary, although it generally always is necessary with a complete tear, according to Cleveland Clinic.

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