Distal biceps tendon rupture

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.


Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ECSWT) is now an established treatment alternative for many bone and soft tissue disorders.
Arthroscopy allows surgeons to use a type of keyhole surgery to diagnose and treat joint problems.
This procedure is used to release the ulnar nerve when it’s compressed at the elbow. The cubital tunnel sheath is cut and split into two, making the tunnel larger and releasing pressure on the nerve.
This type of surgery is used to treat a tear or rupture such as a distal biceps tendon tear

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