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What is Biceps Tendon Rupture

Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture is tearing of the biceps tendon from its attachment on the radius, near the front of the elbow joint. The Biceps is a muscle that helps flex (bend) the elbow and supinate the forearm (rotate the palm face up).

Symptoms of Biceps Tendon Rupture

Pain is common, but generally not severe. Many patients hear or feel a “pop” at their elbow. There may be a visual deformity of the arm, as the Biceps muscle migrates proximally towards the shoulder.

Common Causes of Biceps Tendon Rupture

The rupture of the tendon occurs when lifting an object that exceeds your ability, causing excessive tension on the tendon. Biceps Tendon Rupture generally happens to patients in their 5th and 6th decades as the muscle and tendon gradually weaken from age but heavy use of the arm may continue.

Diagnosing Biceps Tendon Rupture

Discussion with the patient is important to understand how and when the injury occurred, and to learn about functional impairment. A physical exam will further aid in the diagnosis of Biceps Tendon Rupture and assess the remaining strength of the arm, elbow, and forearm. An MRI is sometimes obtained to distinguish a complete Biceps Tendon Rupture from a partial tear. The MRI can also help determine if a completely torn Biceps Tendon has migrated far from the elbow, which may have implication for treatment.

Treatment of Biceps Tendon Rupture

Small partial tears of the Biceps Tendon, as well as inflammatory conditions called tendinitis and tendinosis, can be managed expectantly, with a trial of physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. Sometimes, though, the pain will return with use. In active individuals, surgical repair of complete and partial Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture can be considered to optimize supination and flexion strength, as well as endurance. A single mini-incision and modern fixation techniques generally promote quick rehabilitation and return to form and function.


Biceps Tendon Rupture from its distal attachment can lead to weakness and less endurance of the arm, along with deformity. Call Dr. Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment and get your back to your favorite activities.

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