Treatment for Biceps Tendon Tear Injuries in Lafayette, LA
Tendons are strong cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones and facilitate movement. The biceps muscle, which is located at the front of the upper arm, has two tendons that attach it to the scapula bone in the shoulder and one tendon that attaches to the radius bone at the elbow. A biceps tendon tear can affect any of these three tendons. This relatively common injury, which often results from overuse, can range in severity from minor fraying to a complete rupture.
What Are the Symptoms of a Torn Biceps Tendon?
In addition to sudden pain, which may be severe at first and then improve within a few days, a biceps tendon tear can cause:
- Bruising, swelling, and warmth in the upper arm
- Shoulder or elbow weakness
- A visible bulge or indentation in the upper arm, which can occur if the biceps muscle “bunches up” because it is no longer firmly secured to the bone
- Difficulty rotating the forearm (the motion used to turn a doorknob or screwdriver)
A complete biceps tendon tear may also produce a “popping” sensation at the shoulder or elbow when the tendon ruptures. Following this type of injury, the biceps muscle will be unable to pull on the bone, making certain movements weak and painful.
How Is a Biceps Tendon Tear Treated?
Treatment for a torn biceps tendon will depend on the location of the tear, severity of the tear and whether the rotator cuff is also damaged.
Most biceps tendon tears at the elbow will respond best to surgery in order to restore normal elbow strength.
Some options for a tear at the shoulder include:
- Rest – A break from exercising, lifting, and other activities that involve using the affected arm can reduce pain and promote healing.
- Medications – Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve painful inflammation.
- Physical therapy – Targeted stretches and exercises can help restore strength and range of motion after a biceps tendon injury. For instance, a physician or physical therapist may recommend exercises that involve flexing and extending the arm, arm rotations, and strength-building exercises such as biceps curls.
If conservative treatments do not sufficiently restore strength and motion and help a biceps tendon tear at the shoulder heal, or if the tendon is torn more than halfway through, surgical repair may be considered.
Consult an Orthopedic Specialist
If you’ve sustained a biceps tendon tear, schedule a consultation with Peter D. Vizzi, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist who can evaluate and treat your injury at his office in Lafayette, Louisiana.