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The bicep is connected to the shoulder blade by the bicep tendons. Both the muscle and the tendons are crucial for overhead lifting and arm strength. Repetitive use, excessive force and degenerative conditions can contribute to a bicep tendon rupture or tear that requires orthopedic medical care. Our orthopedic specialists at DOCS Health can provide bicep tendon rupture treatment or surgery, which is available at our medical center in Los Angeles.

The bicep muscle attaches to the elbow and shoulder with tendons on either end. The biceps tendons at the shoulder connect to the top of the shoulder socket and at the bony point called the coracoid process. Both partial and complete bicep tendon tears or ruptures can occur, impacting the strength and function of the arm. While the arm can still maintain movement with a bicep tendon tear, it can make it weaker and limit the range of motion for the arm and hand.

Causes and Symptoms of Bicep Tendon Tears

Repetitive strain on the bicep tendon is one of the most common causes of tears. Activities that require repetitive overhead arm use can cause fraying and tears in the bicep tendon. Sports like baseball and tennis are common sources of repetitive use bicep tendon tears, and also stress from heavy loads like weight lifting. Other factors that contribute include age, smoking and the use of corticosteroids, which can all impact the strength of the bicep tendons.

When a bicep tendon tears, it can have a popping sensation near the shoulder. There may be a sudden, sharp pain in the upper arm near the shoulder. Other symptoms can include:

  • Difficult to turn hand from palm down to palm up
  • Cramping in the bicep
  • Indentation below the shoulder or bulge in bicep
  • Weakness in arm and shoulder
  • Pain and tenderness in upper arm/shoulder

Most bicep tendon rupture treatment is conservative with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications, as well as physical therapy, can be effective in recovery. However, some bicep tendon tears may require more intricate treatment or surgery. If you have symptoms of a bicep tendon rupture, contact us at DOCS Health in Los Angeles. We can schedule an exam with one of our orthopedic specialists to determine the best treatment for your tendon or shoulder injury.