The biceps and the muscle directly underneath, the brachialis, are usually damaged by either a sudden wrench as in contact sports, or they can be injured by a repetitive throwing action, or by practicing a shot over and over in racquet sports, also in repetitive weight training as the males compete for big biceps and even the female biceps are competitive amongst the ladies today.


The muscles will feel painful and tender and they will hurt if you try to use them.


Apply ice to relieve pain but use a thin towel between skin and ice to prevent ice burn. As soon as possible after the injury it is important to start stretching the muscles even if there is slight pain. Hold you hands behind your back with elbows straight, and move your arms backwards until you feel the stretch. Repeat this exercise twice every hour. After all pain has subsided, and you can use your arm, you should start strengthening your arm. Hold a light weight in you outstretched arm and bring your hand up to your shoulder and straighten again. Start with a set of 10 and build up to 3 sets. Repeat daily and increase the weight gradually. Depending on the extent of the injury, you should be able to restart you sport in one to 4 weeks.


  • Always stretch the muscles before you start your sport as this will bring blood and oxygen to the working parts and prevent risk of further injury. Make stretching part of your sport. It is worth it as once you have had an injury the risk increases of further damage.

Recognising your arm injury

  • Your injury may not be your bicep muscle but the tendon which connects from the bicep and passes through the shoulder joint.
  • When the injury happens you can hear or feel a pop and there is pain in the front of the shoulder and possibly some swelling.


Apply ice to minimize pain and control swelling caused by bleeding and fluid loss. Use a thin towel between ice and skin to prevent ice burn. Support the shoulder and seek medical advice as soon as possible. Your doctor will tell you when to start exercises and these should start with gentle stretching of the shoulder followed by strengthening exercises. Your shoulder will regain its strength and flexibility but there will be a higher risk of further injury.


Always warm up adequately and make warming up part of your sport. No longer can you go rushing on court without warming or jump in you canoe and off you go. Warming up will bring oxygen and blood to the working parts and help prevent further injury. If you experience any stiffness you need to stop your sport and start doing stretching exercises again until your arm improves.