Rupture of the long head of the biceps Jamie Shows/Keith Dooley AH322 Evaluation of Athletic Injuries I 10/22/03
What is the biceps muscle? • The biceps muscle splits into two tendons at the shoulder. A long one and a short one. • The long tendon runs over the top of the humerus bone (upper arm) and attaches to the top of the shoulder blade. • A rupture of this tendon is rare in young athletes but more common in older ones. • A rupture of the long head of the biceps is uncommon in competitive and recreational athletes.
The biceps muscle • The long tendon on the right hand side goes over the top of the humerus.
MRI of bicep • This particular case was diagnosed as having a complete rupture of the long head of the left biceps
Symptoms • A sudden sharp pain at the front of the upper arm. • Pain and swelling over the front of the shoulder joint. • Athlete will be unable to contract the biceps muscle against resistance because of pain (especially in the first couple of days after injury).
Diagnosis • Examiner will ask athlete to bend the arm and tighten the biceps muscle. • Pressure will then be applied to the top of the arm to see if there is any pain. • If there is a history of shoulder pain, an MRI or a special X-ray called an arthrogram may be necessary to see if rotator cuff muscle has been torn as well.
Treatment • Conservative treatment is usually all that is needed for tears in the proximal biceps tendons. • Ice applications keep down the swelling. • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen reduce pain.
Treatment (continued) • You should also rest the muscle, limiting your activity when you feel pain or weakness. • To keep the shoulder mobile and strengthen the surrounding muscles, your doctor may prescribe some flexibility and strengthening exercises. • Surgical repair of a complete tendon tear can be done for younger individuals whose work involves heavy labor or lifting.
Treatment (continued) • Complete tears of the distal biceps tendon require surgery to reattach the tendon to the bone. • Range of motion exercises can begin as early as two weeks after surgery, although forceful biceps activity is often restricted for four to six months. • Partial tears of the distal biceps tendon may be treated either conservatively or surgically.
Works Cited • http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/fact/thr_report.cfm?Thread_ID=234&topcategory=Arm • http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/1999/06_99/carter.htm • http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/cybertherapist/front/shoulder/bicepstendrupt.htm