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Ruptured Tendon

Updated on October 4, 2014
Ruptured tendon
Ruptured tendon

What is a Tendon?

A tendon is the fibrous collagen tissue that attaches the muscle to the bone.

Have I Ruptured my Tendon?

A ruptured tendon is also called the "popeye syndrome" and this is when your bicep goes from it's normal position to the top of your arm.

It is extremely painful and it usually happens after you have grabbed onto something pulling your muscle as you do it.

Aloud pop sound can be heard.

Weakness and numbness.

Bruising does not happen right away but it sometimes can happen instantly.

You are unable to use the effected arm.

Inability to move the area involved.

Inability to carry weight.

Unable to bring your arm out to the side

Decreased strength of elbow flection

When hand is turned palm up there is difficulty raising the arm.


A ruptrued tendon can be painful and uncomfortable
A ruptrued tendon can be painful and uncomfortable

What to do If you Rupture a Tendon

In all cases of ruptured tendons you must follow RICE - rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Rest the arm so that you are not straining it.

Apply ice in a plastic bag with a cloth over the affected area.

Loosely wrap the area with a bandage but do not make it tight. This will minimise the swelling.

Elevate the arm high enough to keep it above your heart to minimise swelling.


To Operate or Not to Operate?

You need to go to an orthopeadic surgeon just to check if it is ruptured.

He will check it for you and explain how rupturing the distal tendon will not affect you much.

You lose 10% of your strength and the ability to turn your hand palm up. It is not necessary to operate unless of course you are a body builder or perhaps a plumber or electrician.

Surgeons explain the procedure as more effort than it is worth.

Should you choose to have an operation you will need to know;

The operation takes about an hour or two and it is a delicate procedure that will leave you in a cast for 4 weeks. It takes about 12 weeks to recover and once that is done you need to go for physiotherapy.

The alternative is to stay with the bruising and the pain for a week or two. After two weeks your arm is fully recovered, no bruising and you can continue to use your arm as normal.

The muscle is usable and the tendon does not grow back but your body learns to deal with it by allowing the other tendons to become stronger.

Have I ruptured my Tendon?


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