Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I'm a construction worker. I tore my right biceps muscle lifting a heavy cement block. Can the muscle heal by itself?


Muscles in the arms and legs can heal after injury but it's very slow. Recovery usually takes four to six weeks and may not be complete. You may have some loss of strength. Re-injury is common after these types of muscle strains.

Healing occurs in several steps or phases. First there's bleeding at the site of injury. A bruise or bleeding into the muscle called a hematoma may occur. Some muscle cells will die, then inflammation occurs. Special cells called phagocytes clean up any damage or debris. Scar tissue forms to fill in the damaged area. Small blood vessels also form to supply the new tissue with blood.

The final result depends in large part on how severe the injury is. Good nutrition and rest are important to promote healing. The right amount and kind of movement can also help muscles heal at the right length-tension ratio needed for normal range of motion. In some cases, surgery is an option to reattach the tendon and muscle unit.

Yi-Sheng Chan, MD, PhD, et al. The Use of Suramin, an Antifibrotic Agent, to Improve Muscle Recovery after Strain Injury. In The American Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery. January 2005. Vol. 33. No. 1. Pp. 43-51.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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