A Japanese man’s bulging bicep isn’t a sign of strength, but muscle weakness in his shoulder, doctors said.
The 79-year-old man’s case, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reports that the growth appeared in his arm when he lifted a cardboard box causing a sharp pain in his shoulder.
Doctors said the bulge is actually a balled-up muscle due to a tear in one of the tendons that connect the bicep to the shoulder, known as the Popeye deformity.
And though he may look like the strong cartoon sailor, the man said it caused him great pain.
A 79-year-old Japanese man experienced a bulge in his bicep after lifting a cardboard box and feeling a sharp pain in his shoulder. It is known as the Popeye deformity
WHAT IS THE POPEYE DEFORMITY?
The Popeye deformity involves a tear or rupture of the long head of the biceps.
The biceps muscle is attached to the shoulder bone by two tendons and to the elbow bone by one tendon.
The long head of the bicep tendon is the longer of the two tendons that attach to the shoulder.
The tear causes a complete deformity of the arm muscle.
Because the tendon is injured; the muscle is shortened and goes toward the elbow area.
The muscle appears like a big ball or a Popeye muscle, which gets its name from the popular cartoon sailor who was known for his big arms.
An MRI showed the man had a complete tear of the long head of the biceps tendon, according to the case report.
Tendons are the tissues that connect muscle to bone. The bicep muscle is attached to the shoulder by two tendons and to the elbow by one.
The man ruptured the the ‘long head’ or the longer of the two tendons.
The case published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported: ‘This finding on physical examination is caused by bulging of the biceps muscle belly after rupture of the biceps tendon; however, patients with a rupture of this tendon do not always present with the Popeye sign.’
Dr Naoki Yoshida, who treated the man, said: ‘The affected part was actually soft and pillowy, not hard muscle like Popeye.’
He also added that the bulge became more pronounced when the man flexed his elbow.
The deformity is more common in older adults as muscles, tendons and ligaments experience wear-and-tear over time, the study said.
However, this can occur in athletes, especially body builders due to their constant and quick lifting of heavy weights.
Surgery is often necessary for these athletes if they require full arm strength for their career.
An operation that was developed just last year involves creating a tendon using existing tissue in the arm that could help people regain full use.
Physical therapy is also recommended to build arm strength.
For this man, his treatment was to take nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs or painkillers until the swelling went down.
Four months after the initial tear, the patient reported that the pain was reduced and no longer affected his daily life, but the bulge still remained.
Another man in Russia has also been experiencing the Popeye deformity, but from very different causes.
Kirill Tereshin, 21, has gained attention by sharing pictures and videos of his bizarre arms on social media.
But unlike the Japanese man, he has been injecting himself with a dangerous enhancement oil, know as synthol, to develop his huge 24-inch biceps.
And doctors warn this could cause him permanent damage, including paralyzation.
A 21-year-old Russian man has gained social media attention by injecting himself with dangerous enhancement oil to create the Popeye deformity and grow his biceps to 24 inches