Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture

Photo of man clutching his elbow

Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture

The biceps muscle has tendons at the top going into the shoulder, and the distal biceps tendon going down the arm which inserts into an area of the radial bone in the forearm. It is possible for the distal biceps tendon to pull off the radius bone. It usually occurs with forced use of the biceps and muscle in middle-aged or older males. If it happens you usually feel something pop or rip in your elbow with pain, and bruising and stiffness occur in the following days.

The biceps muscle often changes shape. Over the longer long term, this injury typically results in the loss of 20% of the strength of elbow bending (flexion), and 35% loss of strength of one direction of forearm rotation (supination), and a significant reduction in stamina in the elbow use. As a result, it is usually advisable to surgically repair this tendon to the radial bone ideally as soon as practicable after injury.

Dr Jarrett explains the distal tendon rupture and discusses the treatment options available. 

How is a Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture treated?

Distal Biceps Tendon Repair Post-Operative Care

Very light arm use is allowed for six weeks (light daily activities but no substantial use of your arm to allow the tendon to heal and prevent it pulling out of the radius bone), and no heavy activities until twelve weeks after surgery. Your bandages can be removed two days post-operatively. If you are seeing the hand therapists, they may remove the bandage the day after surgery. Sutures will be internal, and 10 days after surgery you can remove your dressing and wash the skin as normal.

Graphic illustration showing a Distal Biceps Tendon Repair

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