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Biceps Tendon Rupture of the Elbow


“I heard a pop, pop, pop.” That’s how many people with this condition describe the sound when the tendon attaching the biceps muscle to the elbow detaches from the bone. Read on to find out who is likely to rupture a biceps tendon and how it’s treated.

Causes & Triggers

  • Age (especially older men)
  • Forceful straightening against resistance
  • Injury (especially while lifting something heavy)
  • Muscle/tendon weakness from corticosteroids
  • Smoking

Signs & Symptoms

  • Bruising
  • Distorted or “gapped” appearance at front of elbow
  • Muscle cramping
  • “Popping” sound at point of injury
  • Severe pain immediately following injury that lessens over time
  • Swelling
  • Upper arm bulge
  • Weakness
  • When bending elbow
  • When rotating the forearm (supination)

Tips & Treatment

  • Torn tendons do not “grow back.”
  • Reattachment requires surgery.
  • Not repairing the tendon will likely mean decreased function.
  • Seek the expertise of a qualified orthopedic specialist to determine the best course of treatment.

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