Torn Muscle in Bicep Symptoms

Seemingly everyone has experienced muscle pain at some point 1. Many common causes of muscle pain include delayed-onset muscle soreness, a muscle cramp, compartment syndrome and the flu, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. A tear in the muscle body can also cause significant symptoms.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


Pain is the most common symptom associated with a muscle tear, according to Medline Plus 12. The pain from a biceps muscle tear can range from minimal to excruciating, depending on the size of the tear 1. A tear is painful because both the muscle belly and the nerves around it will be affected. While some of these nerves send the signal for the biceps to contract, others are sensory nerves that can sense pain. According to Medline Plus, control your muscle pain by resting the muscle, taking over-the-counter pain relievers as directed and applying ice 12. See your doctor if your pain is intolerable or is not resolving.


Swelling is a common symptom of a biceps tear. You may notice that the torn biceps looks bigger than the biceps on the opposite arm. Swelling occurs because the blood vessels inside the muscle are torn and bleed into the surrounding tissues. Leaking blood can stretch surrounding tissues and cause significant pain. Be sure to rest your injured biceps, apply ice and elevate your biceps above the level of your heart when possible to reduce swelling. Alert your doctor if your swelling does not resolve.


Weakness will also occur with a torn biceps muscle. It may be difficult for you to bend your elbow or turn your palm upwards. This occurs because a torn biceps muscle results in fewer muscle fibers. Because there are fewer fibers, the contraction of the entire muscle will be limited and result in weakness. Allow time for your muscle to heal with rest. After the pain and swelling have resolved, you may progress to light biceps exercises. Consult your doctor if you are not regaining strength in your biceps muscle.