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Bicep Tendon Tear at the Elbow Los Angeles, CA

The bicep is vital for strength when lifting or turning the lower arm. Two tendons attach the bicep to the shoulder, and the distal tendon connects to the radius bone in the elbow. When too much force is exerted on the bicep and distal tendon, there may be a partial or complete tear. Our team of orthopedic surgeons at DOCS Health offer bicep tendon tear at the elbow treatment at our medical clinic in Los Angeles.

A bicep or distal tendon tear is not common. It is almost always caused by a direct-force injury or strain, and not due to repetitive use or degenerative conditions. The distal tendon is under the most strain when the arm or elbow is forced into a straight position. This can occur when lifting an item that is too heavy, forcing the elbow to straighten. Bicep tendon tears can be partial, but most commonly, a complete tear occurs, detaching the distal tendon from the radius. Once detached, the bicep tendon cannot repair itself and reattach to the bone. It will require surgery to restore complete elbow and arm function.

Symptoms of Distal Tendon Tears

Even with a complete distal tendon tear, the arm and elbow can continue to function. While there will be pain, swelling and possibly bruising, a person with a distal tendon tear can continue to use their arm. However, it will have limitations. Initially, there may be a “popping” sound or sensation when the tendon tears and severe pain. Swelling and bruising can occur in the front of the elbow. A noticeable bulge in the bicep and a gap in the front of the elbow may appear as the tendon recoils into the upper arm. While the elbow can still bend and move, it may be difficult to bend or turn the lower arm to the outside (palm up).

To restore full function and strength, surgical reattachment of the distal tendon is required. Non-surgical treatment can be used in certain circumstances where restoring complete function is not necessary or desired.

If you have sustained a bicep tendon tear at the elbow, treatment is available at DOCS Health. Contact us at our state-of-the-art orthopedic clinic in Los Angeles to schedule an appointment.