Doctor Secrets!


Bicep Rupture

Bicep rupture is a full thickness tear of the bicep muscle tendon at the front of your arm. The bicep muscle is used to pull your forearm up towards you. It is attached at one end to your shoulder, and to your front elbow at the other. The bi-cep gets its name from latin bi meaning two, as there are two heads of the bicep - long and short.

Bicep Rupture Cause

Biceps rupture is caused by placing too much load suddenly on the upper arm. Biceps rupture is one of the most common tendon tears which can occur in active people. A biceps rupture often happens when trying to catch something very heavy which is falling e.g. motorcycle, garage door, or gym curl.

bicep rupture cartoon

The biceps muscle is attached by a tendon at either end. One is anchored into the shoulder and the other is anchored into the forearm bone. When the bicep flexes, it pulls these two anchors towards each other flexing your forearm and anything in your hand, up towards you.

The bicep muscle is responsible for your "guns" when doing muscle arm poses. A bicep tear means a partial tear of the bicep muscle fibres. A bicep rupture means the biceps muscle has completely torn off from one or both anchors.

Biceps Rupture Symptoms

  • Snap heard and/or felt in your upper arm
  • Sudden sharp pain followed by persistent ache
  • A Popeye bicep bulge on arm flexion
  • Bruising under the skin over the bicep
  • Weakness of your arm flexion or supination.

bicep rupture

Biceps Rupture Treatment

The treatment of a bicep rupture begins with an MRI that confirms the site and severity of the rupture. Surgical reattachment followed by 6 weeks to 3 months of physiotherapy is the norm. But leaving it unrepaired is often done if not treated within several weeks of the injury as scarring by this time makes reattachment difficult. So if you suspect that you've torn your bicep you should see your doctor to avoid a permanent Popeye bicep.

MLA Citation for School Reports, Links, and Presentations:
Helpful Links:



  • All Rights Reserved Copyright © 2003-2014 Doctor Secrets!
    Last Updated:
    April 22 2016
    Email | Using DS! Articles & Images