A popping sound at the elbow when the tendon breaks and severe pain are common symptoms of a biceps tendon tear at the elbow, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. A common symptom of a biceps tendon tear at the shoulder is the cramping of the biceps muscle during strenuous activity.
Other symptoms of a biceps tendon tear at the elbow include weakness when rotating the forearm or bending the elbow, bruises in the forearm and elbow, and a swollen area in the front of the elbow, according to the AAOS. The front of the elbow may also show a gap caused by the damaged biceps tendon. Furthermore, the upper region of the arm may display a bulge resulting from the recoiled, shortened biceps muscle. Severe pain often occurs during the first week and then diminishes.
An individual with a biceps tendon tear at the shoulder may experience an occasional, loud pop or sudden, intense pain in the upper arm, notes the AAOS. He may also find it hard to turn the arm's palm up or down, or notice bruises from the middle of the upper arm down to the elbow. It is also possible to experience shoulder and elbow weakness. A protruding bump may appear on the upper arm.