Dealing with Upper Arm Injuries

Injuries to the upper arm muscles and tendons are most common in men 30–50, but women may also experience them.

If the tendon ruptures, you may feel a tearing sensation and actually hear a pop, usually around the elbow but sometimes at the shoulder.

upperA recent story from the Mayo Clinic Health System detailed how to properly treat upper arm injuries and prevent them from occurring in the future.

Below is an excerpt from the Mayo Clinic Health System story.

Some patients choose to forego surgery. However, pain, arm function, and appearance (the Popeye bulge) won’t improve over time.

If a tendon ruptures, the first line of treatment is to reattach it to the bone using sutures and anchors. This surgery is typically an outpatient procedure, with patients going home the same day.

Recovery may take three months or more. After surgery, the arm is immobilized by a splint with a 90-degree bend at the elbow and sling for several weeks, giving the repair time to heal.

Passive therapy, where someone moves your arm for you, is designed to help you regain range of motion and prevent the elbow from stiffening. You may want to continue using the sling for protection and comfort.

At four to five weeks post-op, active motion helps you regain strength. At that point, you’ll be able to do light activities such as getting dressed, personal care, and working at a computer. By three months, you’ll be gradually rebuilding strength through increased activity.

Preventing Injury

To prevent injury to your upper arm muscles and tendons, maintain overall strength, avoid overloading your arm muscles and be sure you’re using proper technique when working with weights at home or the gym.

Douglas Bartels, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

To read the full story from the Mayo Clinic Health System, click here.