What is a distal biceps tendon rupture?
A distal biceps tendon rupture affects the tendon that attaches the biceps muscle to the elbow.
Extending the elbow against considerable resistance, such as when lifting a heavy weight, is the most common cause.
What are the symptoms?
A tendon rupture is normally accompanied by an audible ‘pop’, along with severe pain, swelling and bruising. The biceps may also recoil and bulge at the top of the upper arm, giving an unusual appearance.
Following a medical examination, the diagnosis is usually backed up by an MRI scan to discover the extent of the damage.
Non-surgical treatment: this may be considered for older or inactive patients, but the majority of people, particularly athletes, need to have surgery to re-attach the tendon to the bone.
Surgery: because the tendon is not able to not re-attach itself to the elbow, you will normally be advised to have biceps tendon surgery to avoid a significant long-term loss of function.