What You Need To Know About A Torn Shoulder Tendon
The bicep muscle that is located in your upper arm can actually cause you to have a torn shoulder tendon. Tendons attach your bones to muscles. The bicep tendon attaches the muscles in the biceps to not only the shoulder but also to the elbow. If you tear the tendon located at the shoulder then you can physically lose strength and be unable to rotate your arm from palm up to palm down.
The cause of a torn shoulder tendon can be understood a bit easier if you can visualize how your shoulder is put together. The shoulder is made up of three joints described as a ball-and-socket. The shoulder blade (scapula), upper arm bone (humerus) and the collarbone (clavicle) make up this joint. A torn shoulder tendon can be a cause of injury to any of these.
Your upper arm bone finds itself in the socket in your shoulder blade. This is the glenoid socket and the tissues that keep your arm centered are the rotator cuff. The top of your bicep muscle has tendons attaching it to bones located in the shoulder.
A torn shoulder tendon can either be a complete or partial tear. A partial tear does not completely leave the tendon severed while a complete tear splits that muscle in two. A torn shoulder tendon can start by a frayed tendon that eventually progresses into a complete tear, often from lifting something heavy.
The head of the bicep tendon is the most likely cause of a torn shoulder tendon. As it travels through the joint in the shoulder it is very vulnerable. When you acquire a tear in the bicep tendon it can easily lead to damage in other areas of your shoulder like the tendons in the rotator cuff.
A torn shoulder tendon can occur if you fall on your arm that is outreached or if you lift something that is too heavy. It can also be a cause of repeating a motion over again such as a baseball pitcher.
Your risk for a torn shoulder tendon can greatly increase with age. An older person has put a lot more wear and tear on their tendons. Weightlifting can also be a huge cause or having a job where you are constantly lifting something heavy over your head. Additionally, nicotine can greatly affect the nutrition of your tendon as well as the use of corticosteroid medications.
Symptoms of a torn shoulder tendon can include sharp upper arm pain, an audible snap or popping noise, cramping of your bicep muscle, weakness in your elbow or shoulder and difficulty rotating your arm.
If you think you have a torn shoulder tendon you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor. A partial rupture is much harder to detect then a complete tear. Often, applying a cold pack several times a day can help with the swelling but do not apply the pack right on the skin. Drugs such as ibuprofen can help with reducing swelling and pain and you should avoid any heavy lifting at all. Additionally, flexibility exercises will help strengthen your shoulder to avoid a torn shoulder tendon.
If surgical treatment is needed, there are several procedures that are utilized to repair tendons with very little incisions. The surgery essentially re-anchors the tendon that is torn back to the bone. Your doctor will begin you on exercises to improve your range of motion and you must follow the doctor's plan for treatment. It can be a slow process but with time and proper treatment you can overcome a torn shoulder tendon.