A biceps tear can involve the biceps muscle or very often the tendons that attach the biceps to your shoulder and elbow. Drew Stein, MD, PLLC, is an experienced orthopedic surgeon and sports injury specialist who provides effective treatments for biceps tears at his practice in the Midtown West area of New York City. Call today if you have shoulder or elbow pain, or book an appointment using the online tool.
A biceps tear can be damage to the biceps muscle itself or to the biceps tendon that attaches the bicep to the shoulder joint. Although it’s less common, it can also be a tear of the tendons that attach the bicep to the elbow joint.
Bicep tendon tears may be partial, where the tendon is still attached, or complete, where the tendon breaks in two. Biceps tears at the elbow are typically more painful and disabling than tears at the shoulder.
The biceps tendon attaches to your shoulder joint in two places, so it’s possible to sustain a complete tear of one attachment but still be able to use your arm because the other attachment remains functional. You may also damage other structures in your shoulder at the same time, such as the rotator cuff or the labrum.
Biceps tears have two chief causes, injury or wear and tear.
Acute biceps injuries can arise from lifting a heavy weight or suddenly taking the weight of an object and trying to hold on to it. You can also sustain a biceps tear by falling onto your arm when it’s outstretched. Tears of the biceps tendon at the elbow attachment are almost always due to acute injury.
Over time the biceps tendon frays and wears down, which happens as a natural result of the aging process. Making repetitive shoulder movements over many years can make the wear and tear damage worse.
Tears to the biceps muscle are likely to respond well to rest and physical therapy. Biceps tendon tears that aren’t causing any serious problems, like those in older, less-active patients, may also benefit from physical therapy. Dr. Stein also offers regenerative medicine options, an exciting new approach to stimulating new tissue growth using platelet-rich plasma therapy and bone marrow aspirate stem cells.
If nonsurgical treatments aren’t working or the damage is more severe, as may be the case with a tear of the elbow attachment, surgery may be advisable. Dr. Stein uses minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to repair the biceps tendons wherever possible. In the shoulder, the technique is to reattach the biceps tendon with a small incision. Providing you follow his recommendations on aftercare and physical therapy, you should recover full strength and range of motion.
If you have pain or dysfunction in your arm or shoulder, call Drew Stein, MD, PLLC, to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.