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Biceps Tendon Rupture

What is a Biceps Tendon Rupture?

The biceps muscle is the muscle on the front side of your upper arm, and is partially responsible for bending the elbow and rotating the forearm. The Biceps Tendon is the tendon that attaches the biceps muscle to both the shoulder and the elbow, and when this tendon tears or is injured it can have grave consequences for arm mobility and strength.


What causes a Biceps Tendon Rupture?

Tears of the Biceps Tendon at the elbow most commonly occur when the elbow is forcibly straightened against the effort of the muscles and tendons. This type of injury is common among people who lift heavy loads for a living, but can occur in anyone else who happens to be lifting a heavy object, as well.


What are symptoms of a Biceps Tendon Rupture?

Because of the sudden nature of the injury, a tear in the Biceps Tendon at the elbow is characterized by sudden, intense pain at the elbow, as well as vivid and highly visible bruising at the site of injury. One of the most marked features is that the muscle, because it is no longer attached to the radius bone at the elbow, will recoil within the arm, and form a lump in the arm resembling a “ Popeye” muscle appearance. There will also be weakness in bending or flexing the elbow, as well as difficulty twisting the forearm into a palm up position with a bent elbow.


How to diagnose a Biceps Tendon Rupture

As with any trauma, the doctor will start by taking a medical history, to establish the past use of the injured area and determine the cause of the injury. After this, there will be a physical examination of the injury, which will indicate the severity and scope of the trauma. Typically, imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI scans, will be ordered in order to rule out any fracture of the elbow or other bones, as well as rupture of the biceps tendon away from its insertion.


Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatment of a Biceps Tendon Rupture

By their nature, tendons do not reattach themselves to bone without medical intervention, so the only instances in which surgery would not be advisable were if the injured party were elderly, truly inactive, or because of health concerns. If you choose to forgo surgery, the only thing to do is intense rehabilitation, to train the remaining tendons and muscles to compensate for the lack of the Biceps Tendon.

Surgical treatment of a Biceps Tendon Rupture

The surgical repair of a Biceps Tendon tear is relatively straightforward, but there are a few different ways to do it. Some doctors choose to attach the tendon to the bone with sutures that pass through holes drilled in the bone, while others secure them using suture anchors in the bone. Another method, which Dr. Knight uses, involves anchoring the tendon to the bone through one small minimally invasive incision with a biosorbable device that  inserted into the bone and causes much less irritation during the healing process.


How can Dr. Knight help you with a Biceps Tendon Rupture?

As mentioned, Dr. Knight uses a novel method that avoids the necessity of metal anchors, which is, in the long term, much better for the healing process. It is important that you are able to return to your life and work just as before your injury, and Dr. Knight will make sure that that happens.


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