Learn about some of the nonsurgical treatment options for biceps tendon rupture
Biceps tendon rupture is a condition in which one of the tendons responsible for anchoring the biceps muscle to the shoulder or elbow is torn. Rupture of the biceps tendon can be caused by a variety of reasons. One of the most common ways to rupture the biceps tendon is though injuries like receiving a sudden impact or straining while lifting a heavy object incorrectly. Another common cause of biceps tendon rupture is through repetitive motions, like throwing. Because of this, biceps tendon rupture can often be seen in athletes due to overuse injuries.
Symptoms of biceps tendon rupture vary depending on the degree and location of the tear, but can include pain, bruising and inflammation. You may experience a snapping sound, and in some severe cases, the muscle will bulge away from the point where it was anchored. If you are unable to have surgery due to a medical condition that would make it unsafe or if you have an inactive lifestyle or if full strength recovery is not necessary due to an inactive lifestyle, nonsurgical treatment may be an option. However, if you are diagnosed with this condition, it's best to decide between surgical and nonsurgical treatment as soon as possible, as scarring and shortening of the tendons and muscle start to occur two to three weeks after the injury, making successful surgical repair more difficult.
Nonsurgical treatment like rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy exercises may be used to treat a rupture of the long head of the biceps tendon if other structures are not damaged. Surgery may be necessary if the injury is not responsive to conservative treatment or if the patient's lifestyle is physically demanding.