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WHAT IS A BICEPS TENDON RUPTURE?

The biceps muscle is the main muscle of the front of the arm. It forms a tendon, which crosses the elbow joint and is attached to the bone of the thumb side of the forearm known as the radius. When the muscle contracts it flexes or bends the elbow. The biceps tendon can rupture at the elbow joint.

 

WHAT IS THE CAUSE BICEPS TENDON RUPTURE?

Usually the biceps tendon ruptures when an unexpectedly strong force is applied to a bent arm. This is often during weight lifting in a gym but it can occur during other sports.


WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Sudden pain over the front of the elbow is often the first sign of a biceps tendon rupture. It can be associated with a snapping sensation. Patients often notice that the normal shape of the arm is lost. The biceps muscle is often bunched up higher in the arm. For the first few days there might be swelling and bruising over the front of the elbow.


HOW IS THIS DIAGNOSED?

An examination is often more than adequate to diagnose a biceps tendon rupture. An ultra sound scan or an MRI scan often confirms the diagnosis


WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?

It is not essential to operate on a biceps tendon rupture if the patient is happy with the cosmetic appearance. Functionally there is very little loss in the elbow. Surgery is an option to improve the cosmetic appearance and also to get full function of the tendon. A cut is made over the front of the elbow and the torn tendon is brought down and fixed to the bone from where it was pulled off. This is done using anchors with sutures attached to them. Following the repair it is necessary to keep the elbow in a plaster for the initial few weeks following which supervised physiotherapy is used to rehabilitate the elbow.