How You Can Avoid the Painful Popeye Deformity

Lifting weights may help strengthen and tone your higher arms. But in the event you overdo it when lifting weights and even simply shifting heavy containers, you may make your biceps pop — and never in a great way. A tear can produce a painful harm generally known as a Popeye deformity.

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There are two tendons in your biceps — one connects to the brief head of the biceps and the opposite connects to the lengthy head. The lengthy head of your biceps goes into your shoulder.

“When that tendon tears, your muscle contracts like a ball that looks like Popeye when he eats spinach, which is why this injury is colloquially known as the Popeye deformity,” says sports activities medication doctor Dominic King, DO.

Here are 3 ways to keep away from this harm.

1. Don’t overdo it 

Overusing your biceps over time can inflame the tendons. If these infected tendons will not be correctly handled, they’ll lose their skill to perform.

“That degeneration can cause weakness and can lead to a tendon tearing and rupturing,” Dr. King says.

So strive to not overwork your muscle mass. And don’t raise heavy objects by yourself. Ask for assist, he advises.

If you’re lifting one thing heavy from the ground, all the time bend on the knees as a substitute of bending over from the waist. Also, by no means raise one thing heavy above your shoulders.

2. Go low and gradual 

Be cautious in the event you’re studying a brand new weightlifting approach or beginning a brand new, intense health coaching routine, resembling CrossFit.

Even in the event you’re feeling superb and really feel as if you’re in nice bodily form, you all the time wish to go low and begin gradual, Dr. King says.

“If you’ve never lifted heavy weights or participated in CrossFit or done those big, explosive types of boot camps, you really should ease into it,” he says. “In addition to the chronic change your tendon undergoes before tearing, a large load placed on your arm very quickly is what typically causes it to tear.”

3. Listen to your physique

There’s a distinction between soreness and ache and it’s essential to know that distinction. Soreness is a discomfort that you simply get after exercising that goes away in a few days after relaxation. Pain is one thing that you simply expertise throughout train.

“If you have significant pain during activity, it’s a warning sign from your body telling you that this is not just the normal soreness you get from exercising and using muscles,” Dr. King says. “There actually might be something wrong.”

Immediately cease the exercise when you begin to really feel ache, he advises. Anti-inflammatory medication and icing the supply of the ache could assist firstly. But don’t ignore the ache if it continues.

“If there is damage, your body is actually really good at taking care of it,” he says. “But if your body cannot take care of it on its own, taking anti-inflammatories and icing for months on end will not heal what is going on. It will reduce some inflammation but it will not actually fix what’s wrong.”

If you’ve gotten important ache for longer than two weeks and it’s decreasing your skill to perform, it’s time to see a doctor.

Treating your harm

For any such harm, your physician will consider your whole shoulder to verify there’s no rotator cuff tear or different shoulder injury, Dr. King says.

“If it’s just a tear of the long head biceps tendon, it’s routinely taken care of non-operatively,” he says. “In the short term, we work on range of motion to ensure that the shoulder doesn’t get stiff.”

Since the Popeye deformity causes a considerable amount of bruising and swelling, alternating between heat compresses and ice may help in decreasing irritation and holding the muscle mass from getting stiff.

Through physical therapy, sufferers will endure a progressive program of stretching and strengthening to get again as a lot regular perform as doable, Dr. King says.

“John Elway [former Denver Broncos quarterback] tore his long head biceps tendon and he didn’t get it surgically fixed,” he says. “And he went on to win two Super Bowls.”

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