Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture 


The biceps muscle runs from the front of the shoulder to the front of the elbow.  The lower end of the biceps tendon runs across the front of the elbow and feels like a tight rope. 

The biceps provides most of the power when bending the elbow (flexing) and a ruptured biceps tendon usually occurs with heavy lifting or catching yourself during a fall.  

After the initial rush of pain settles down, it is common to think "Maybe it isn't that bad...."  Most of the time you can still move the elbow, it just hurts to bring your hand up toward your face.  Wearing a sling for a few days helps and typically some over the counter medication is enough to manage the pain. 

The problem is that the biceps tendon is under some stretch when it is attached and after it ruptures the tendon recoils up the arm.  This creates a gap between the torn tendon and the bone where it is supposed to be attached.  Your body is not able to bridge that gap, so the tendon is not going to heal on its own. 

The best way to handle a ruptured biceps tendon is to surgically repair it.  This involves reattaching the tendon back to the proper point of attachment on the bone.  

This is an outpatient surgery and can be done with a minimally invasive approach. 

The results of surgery are typically quite good with most patients regaining all their motion and strength within a couple of months.  With a successful recovery, return to sports and exercise as well as demanding physical labor is possible.  

If you think you have ruptured your biceps tendon and need to get help, contact our office right away.