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Elbow Surgeon in Eagle and Summit County

Dr. Terrell Joseph

Begin Your Parctice

Biceps Tendon Issues and Treatement


There are two tendons in the biceps that keep the muscle attached to the elbow and shoulder bones. When these tendons are healthy and functional, they allow us to move our arms normally. An injury to any of the biceps tendons can impact our normal range of movement.

What Conditions Effect the Biceps Tendon


There are four major injuries and conditions that can impact the biceps tendon. These include:

  • Proximal (affecting the tendon near the shoulder) biceps tendinitis 

  • Distal (affecting the tendon near the elbow) biceps tendinitis 

  • Proximal biceps tendon tear

  • Distal biceps tendon tear

Biceps tendinitis is a condition caused by overuse or repetitive motion. The tendon becomes inflamed and, in extreme cases, can develop microtears.


If left untreated, biceps tendinitis can cause a more serious biceps tendon tear. This is when the tendon frays and tears completely. Biceps tendon tears can also be caused by a twisting injury or a fall. The elbow biceps tendon will often tear during a lifting injury.  

How Do I Know If I Hurt My Biceps Tendon?


The symptoms of biceps tendinitis include:

  • Pain at the shoulder or elbow 

  • Tenderness at the shoulder or elbow 

  • A sensation of snapping, catching, or clicking

  • Swelling at the shoulder or elbow 

  • Weakness

  • Difficulty moving the arm


Alternatively, the symptoms of a biceps tendon tear are:

  • Bruising on the forearm or upper arm

  • Shoulder or elbow weakness

  • Pain at the shoulder or elbow 

  • Difficulty rotating your arm

  • Deformity of the upper arm


Since these symptoms are similar to each other, it's essential to be properly diagnosed by an orthopaedic expert.

How Do I Recover From a Biceps Tendon Issue?

If diagnosed early, most cases of biceps tendinitis can be treated nonsurgically. Conservative methods for biceps tendinitis treatment could include any or all of the following:


  • Ice

  • Rest

  • Anti-inflammatory medications

  • Physical therapy

  • Steroid injections


Unfortunately, a torn biceps tendon cannot heal on its own. However, the painful symptoms can often be managed using the same conservative methods above.


Surgery for a torn biceps tendon is common, predictable, and safe. With physical therapy, arm function and strength will usually return to normal. Re-tearing a torn biceps tendon after surgical repair is very rare.  

Surgery for a Torn Biceps Tendon in Eagle and Summit County


If your suffering from pain in the shoulder or pain in the elbow, contact Dr. Joseph and his team at Vail-Summit Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery today! As the leading upper extremity expert in Eagle and Summit County, Colorado, Dr. Joseph will accurately diagnose your issue and get you back to doing the activities you love.

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