Bicep Tendon Tear

A bicep tendon tear is an injury to one of the strong bands of tissue (tendons) that connect muscle to the bone. With this injury, the tendon can be partially or completely torn. However, because the bicep is attached to two separate tendons, it is usually possible to still use the bicep muscle when one tendon is completely torn.


Bicep tendon tears are often the result of falling on an outstretched arm or lifting something heavy. A tendon can also become frayed or damaged over time from repetitive use.


The most common symptom of a bicep tendon tear is sudden, severe pain in the upper arm or elbow. Most people hear a popping sound as it happens. Additional symptoms may include bruising, weakness, and difficulty rotating the arm from a palm down to a palm up position.


Physicians will assess symptoms and conduct a physical exam in order to properly diagnose a bicep tendon tear. Pain, weakness in the shoulder or elbow, and range of motion are some of the factors that physicians will look for. Imaging tests may also be used to confirm the diagnosis.


Most bicep tendon tears can be treated with rest, ice, pain medications, and physical therapy. Surgery may be an option for those who continue to experience symptoms.

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