A torn tendon will cause pain to the upper area of the arm and shoulder that is sharp, sudden and severe. If the pain stems from something else, it likely will gradually become painful. If you are swinging a golf club and you feel a sudden burst of pain, there is a good chance you have torn your tendon. On the other hand, if there is a dull pain throughout the round, you may have simply pulled a muscle.
This is not true in all cases, but if the tear is severe enough, you may hear a pop or snap in your shoulder. This is literally the sound of the tendon tearing or being ripped out of place. If you hear a pop, chances are very good the tendon is torn.
A torn tendon will often cause a large bruise on the shoulder or arm. The bruise is likely to extend down the middle part of the upper arm until it reaches the elbow.
If you find that it is painful to turn your arms while you are swinging a golf club, this may be an indication that you have a torn tendon.
One of the surest indicators of a torn shoulder tendon is the appearance of a bulge in the upper part of the arm, just above the elbow. This often appears along with a small dent that is closer to the shoulder. This occurs because a torn tendon is unable to keep the bicep muscle tight.