A 30-year-old mechanic in China developed a bulbous mass like & # 39; Popeye & # 39; on his arm after doctors determined he broke a tendon while working, according to a new case study.
The man heard a "pop" as he hammered, followed by intense pain, swelling and weakness in his arm, the study said.
He sought medical help and, during the clinical examination, there was a swelling that became more prominent when he was able to flex. The swelling resembled the classic cartoon character "Popeye the Sailor", who is best known for his oddly shaped arms and love for spinach.
Doctors later determined that he had the "Popeye Sign", citing the bulbous mass resulting from a ruptured tendon in the man's proximal biceps.
The results, published in BMJ case reports on January 20, suggest that ultrasound scans can be an inexpensive and easily accessible diagnostic tool for doctors.
According to the authors, biceps tendon ruptures are not uncommon, with previous studies finding that approximately one in 200,000 people experiences it. But it occurs more often in men, with three men experiencing it for each woman.
The authors also noted that a tear in the biceps tendon was more common in people in their 60s.
According to the case study, the Chinese was asked to rest his arm and received non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain. After doctors gave OK, he underwent physical therapy for muscle strengthening and rehabilitation exercises.
The authors noted that treatment does not normally involve surgery. And after a month of treatment, the man was able to return to work normally.
With proper treatment and rest, ruptures like this usually end with most patients regaining full arm function "without significant restriction," said the case study.