“Popeye” Biceps Injury Can Be Eye-Popping : Shots


No, he isn’t Popeye. He’s a 79-year-old man with a surprisingly frequent harm.

The New England Journal of Medicine

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The New England Journal of Medicine

No, he isn’t Popeye. He’s a 79-year-old man with a surprisingly frequent harm.

The New England Journal of Medicine

A 79-year-old man picked up an object together with his left hand and out of the blue felt a pointy ache in his shoulder. Something moved in his higher arm. And with that, he was Popeye.

His proper arm regarded the identical because it all the time had: lean and sagging just a little with age. But his left biceps now sported a baseball-size bulge that regarded prefer it might land a strong punch. The brand-new muscle mound regarded even larger when the person flexed his biceps. The solely factor was, it damage. So much.

He had not eaten an inordinate quantity of spinach that day, nor was he a one-eyed sailor man. But as the person’s medical doctors wrote Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, he had a situation referred to as a Popeye deformity.

MRI confirmed that the brand new lump was, the truth is, his biceps. In selecting up the article, the person had ruptured a tendon that linked the biceps to his shoulder. Tendons preserve the springlike muscle stretched from shoulder to elbow. When it tore, the biceps sprang free, settling towards the elbow.

“It becomes like a ball,” says Dr. Nabil Ebraheim, an orthopedic surgeon with the University of Toledo who sees sufferers with Popeye deformity every now and then.

This harm is extra frequent in folks over the age of 50, when tendons, muscle mbad and ligaments can weaken after years of damage. Often, medical doctors will simply go away or not it’s.

“The older guys like it,” says Ebraheim. “They come and flex their muscles.”

He says the harm is painful at first, however typically the ache subsides after a couple of weeks. In truth, typically surgeons will purposefully lower the tendon, inflicting Popeye deformity, to alleviate sufferers of persistent shoulder ache.

“Sometimes doctors do it to help the patient,” says Ebraheim.

In different sufferers, although, cramping could be a actual downside.

“There are many patients that are quite bothered by it. It’s like a charley-horse-type pain in the arm,” says Dr. Peter Millett, an orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist at The Steadman Clinic in Colorado.

A couple of years in the past, Millett began surgically repairing Popeye deformities, which are not all the time so apparent, in sufferers with power ache by reattaching the tendon to the bone.

In this case, the medical doctors simply prescribed the person some anti-inflammatory medicine. Four months later, the ache did not hbadle him anymore. And perhaps he’d gotten used to trying like Popeye.

Rae Ellen Bichell is a science journalist based mostly in Colorado. She beforehand coated normal science and biomedical badysis for NPR. You can discover her on Twitter: @raelnb

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