The biceps muscle is in the front of your arm and assists in bending and rotating the arm as well as stabilising the shoulder. Biceps tendon tears can be partial (tendon is not completely severed) or complete (tendon is split in two).
Common symptoms include; sharp, sudden pain in the upper arm, sometimes an audible pop, bruising of the middle of the upper arm, pain or tenderness at the shoulder and elbow, weakness in both the shoulder and elbow and sometimes a bulge in the upper arm (“Popeye” deformity) may appear.
For a lot of patients, pain from a long head of biceps tendon tear can resolve with time and if no other critical structures have been damaged (e.g. rotator cuff) non-surgical treatment is often recommended. These treatment measures include; rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, physiotherapy to help strengthen the shoulder.
Surgical treatment in these injuries is not often required, however those who require complete recovery of strength (for example athletes, builders) surgery may be the appropriate treatment option. The goal of this surgery is to re-anchor the torn tendon back to the bone. Following any surgery, a rehabilitation program will be prescribed to assist in a return to full strength and function.
It can take typically two to four months for complete relief of pain, but may take up to a year for full strength and function to be restored.