Most Palmdale Physical Therapist say that tendon tears or ruptures are often painful and frightening injuries. Although they generally happen in your middle age, our Palmdale Physical Therapist say these injuries can also happen to younger and elderly people as well.
The most common injury occurs when lifting or pulling on a heavy object, more then ever, when something slips or starts to fall. A majority of the time, a snap or pop is both felt and heard, and pain happens around the shoulder or elbow, depending on which part of the biceps tendon is torn.
Making the diagnosis of a torn biceps tendon is typically straightforward, but the decision for how to best treat these injuries may be more complex.
Choosing if surgery is necessary, or even helpful, may be more complicated, and the ideal treatment may not be the same for everyone.
The Biceps Tendon and Muscle
The biceps tendon is the structure that connects the biceps muscle to the bone. The biceps muscle aids in bending the elbow joint, as well as other functions. It is crucial t in the motion called supination of the forearm.
This is the motion of turning the palm facing upwards; eg. opening a doorknob or turning a screwdriver. The biceps tendon is also crucial in its contribution to shoulder stability.
There are two proximal biceps tendon attachments at the shoulder joint, and a single distal biceps tendon at the elbow. The reason they are known as biceps (‘bi,’ meaning two) is that there are two major parts of the muscle.
Each of these parts of the muscle belly has its own tendon attachment on top by the shoulder, and the two parts coalesce into one tendon attachment at the elbow.
One of the tendons by the shoulder (the proximal biceps) is called the long head of the biceps and the other is called the short head of the biceps. The long head of the biceps is almost always the part that is injured in a proximal biceps injury.
A majority of educated Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that the long head of the biceps attaches inside the shoulder joint, right on the rim of the shoulder joint socket. The short head of the proximal biceps attaches to a spur of bone in front of the shoulder called the coracoid process.
Types of Biceps Tendon Ruptures
A biceps tendon rupture is an injury that happens to the biceps tendon attachment causing the tendon to separate from the bone.
A normal biceps tendon is connected strongly to the bone. When the biceps tendon ruptures, this tendon is detached. Following a biceps tendon rupture, the muscle cannot pull on the bone, and specific movements may be weakened and painful.
There are two types of biceps tendon ruptures.
Proximal Biceps Tendon Rupture
A proximal biceps tendon rupture is an injury to the biceps tendon at the shoulder joint. This injury type is the most common type of biceps tendon injury. It is most notable in patients over 60 years of age and often causes minimal symptoms.
As previously stated, proximal biceps tendon injuries almost always happen to the long head of the biceps tendon. Our Palmdale Physical Therapist say injuries to the short head of the biceps are almost unheard of.
Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture
The distal biceps tendon is injured around the elbow joint. This is generally an injury that occurs with heavy lifting or sports in middle-aged men. Many patients with a distal biceps rupture will have surgery to repair the torn tendon.
Treatment Options For Biceps Tendon Rupture
Figuring out whether to have the biceps tendon repair depends on a variety of factors including the age of the patient, the activity level of the patient, which arm the injury is on (dominant or non-dominant), and the expectations for future.
Certainly, younger, more active, injuries to the dominant extremity are generally repaired. However, our Palmdale Physical Therapist say results of non-surgical treatment are not as bad as many people think.
There is often some deformity to the shape of the muscle, but typically, the loss of strength is much less than many people expect. Nonsurgical treatment is often an option.
Our Palmdale Physical Therapist suggest you talk about these treatment options with your orthopedic surgeon who can assist you in figuring out the best option for your situation.