Biceps Tendon Tears

The biceps muscle is a muscle of the upper arm that crosses the shoulder and elbow joints. The biceps tendon at the elbow helps flex the elbow and rotate the hand so the palm faces the ceiling. It is important for activities such as using a screwdriver.

A tear of the biceps tendon occurs when the muscle has degeneration (weakening from a natural aging process) and the tendon is overloaded. Tears may be partial or complete.

The patient’s complaints and the physical exam provide the most important information. X-rays will often be normal but are ordered to rule out any possible injuries to the bone. MRIs are sometimes ordered to confirm the diagnosis or to clarify a complete from a full thickness tear

In some circumstances, nonoperative management may be recommended. However, surgical reattachment of the tendon to the bone is usually recommended to restore power and endurance to the elbow.