Can a biceps injury occur without a specific traumatic event? In my latest Ask Dr. Geier column, I discuss biceps tendon pain at the shoulder.

Lance Fancher in Rimersburg, Pennsylvania asks:
About a week ago I started to notice some pain in the area of the bicep around shoulder, more of the small head of the muscle I believe. I will get bit of a burning pain once in a while and also has kind of a numb feeling to it when rubbing a finger along it. I am a pro wrestler and lift a lot, but I can’t think of a time that I did something and felt a pop or instant pain. I have no bruising or the Popeye look to it. Could this be just a pull or a nerve thing, or should I be worried about a tear of the muscle?

Often we see biceps tendon ruptures at the elbow or at the shoulder. Usually the patient recalls a specific event where he feels a pop. Then he notices swelling or bruising at the injury site and a muscle bulge in the middle of the arm, often called a Popeye deformity.

Signs and symptoms of biceps tendon pain

It is common for a young, athletic person to have pain at the biceps tendon as it attaches to the glenoid at the shoulder. It often results from a repetitive activity like throwing or lifting weights. The pain can result from inflammation of that tendon or even fraying of the tendon. Often the athlete feels pain in the front of the shoulder or deep in the shoulder with activity.

Location of biceps tendon pain of the shoulder
Location of the biceps tendon

Treatment of biceps tendon pain

Often a short course of physical therapy can help decrease pain and restore muscle strength. That combined with a short period of activity modification can help him return to sports and exercise.

If there is a question about the nature of the pain or if the symptoms are not improving, an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine physician can order an MRI to look at the integrity of the tendon and the presence of any other structural damage in the shoulder, such as a SLAP tear or rotator cuff tear.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier: Return to activity after meniscus surgery
Ask Dr. Geier – Injections for osteoarthritis

I want to help you! Please take a few seconds to share the biggest challenge or struggle you’re facing with your injury! Click here!

Recommended Products and Resources
Click here to go to Dr. David Geier’s Amazon Influencer store!
Due to a large number of questions I have received over the years asking about products for health, injuries, performance, and other areas of sports, exercise, work and life, I have created an Amazon Influencer page. While this information and these products are not intended to treat any specific injury or illness you have, they are products I use personally, have used or have tried, or I have recommended to others. THE SITE MAY OFFER HEALTH, FITNESS, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER SUCH INFORMATION, BUT SUCH INFORMATION IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT DOES NOT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY MEDICAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR, NOR DOES IT REPLACE, PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. THE SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTIONS OR INACTION ON A USER’S PART BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT IS PRESENTED ON THE SITE. Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.