About Biceps Tears
A biceps tendon tear can happen at either the shoulder or the elbow. A tear can also be complete or partial. A complete tear means the tendon has completely torn away from the bone and in these cases will likely require surgery to repair. In cases where there is a partial tear or fraying of the tendon from overuse, there are non-surgical treatment modalities that can be helpful. A tendon can also tear as part of an injury, such as moving or twisting your elbow or shoulder in an awkward way, or falling down with your arm outstretched. At the elbow, the bicep tendon most often tears during the act of lifting a heavy object.
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Symptoms of Biceps Tears
The most obvious symptom will be a sudden, severe pain in the upper part of your arm or at the elbow, depending on where the tendon is injured. You may hear or feel a “pop” when a tendon tears. Other signs that you may have torn a biceps tendon include:
- Sharp pain at the shoulder or elbow
- A bruise that appears on the upper arm
- A feeling of weakness in the shoulder or elbow
- Trouble rotating your arm from a “palm up” to a “palm down” position
- A change in the contour of the front of your arm
Also, a bulge may appear in your biceps area, because the tendon is no longer holding the muscle in place properly. This is often referred to as a “Popeye Sign”. This is caused by a complete rupture of the long head of the biceps tendon.
Treatments for Biceps Tears
For partial tears of the biceps tendon, Ospina Medical offers Regenexx regenerative medicine procedures that can help heal and restore strength to damaged or torn tendons. Our providers utilize platelet rich plasma (PRP) and if needed bone marrow concentrate containing stem cells to stimulate the body’s own natural healing response that can lead to resolution of the partial tear and improvement in function.
If you suffer from a partial biceps tendon tear, contact Ospina Medical to schedule an appointment and learn more about your treatment options. Our providers specialize in Regenexx treatments that can help heal and restore function to damaged or partially torn tendons. Book your consultation at Ospina Medical in Midtown Manhattan today.
Biceps Tear FAQ
What are the most common causes of a bicep tear?
Bicep tears are typically caused by a sudden injury, accident, lifting a weight that is too heavy, and repetitive actions or movements.
What are the risks of a bicep tear?
- Heavy weight lifting
- Sports or activities that involve throwing or swinging (baseball, tennis, etc.)
- Poor blood circulation
- Previous arm or shoulder injuries
- Not warming up before physical activity
How long is recovery after surgery for a complete bicep tear?
A complete bicep tear involves a lengthier recovery time than a partial tear. Most patients will be referred for surgery for a complete bicep tear which typically requires a 6 – 9 month recovery period. Recovery includes wearing a sling to immobilize the arm and light exercises to prevent scar tissue formation. In the final three months of recovery, physical rehabilitation with strength exercises is typically recommended.
What can I do to help prevent a bicep tear?
Because bicep tears often occur when lifting something heavy, typically during weight training, here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of a bicep tear:
- Stretch and warm up before lifting heavy or any physical activity
- Use controlled movements while avoiding rapid, jerking, swinging movements
- End workouts with static stretching
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid overuse by allowing recovery time