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Distal Biceps Tendons Rupture

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This injury occurs when the tendon that attaches the biceps muscle to the elbow is detached from the bone. Distal biceps tendons rupture most commonly when a middle-aged man lifts a box or other heavy item with his elbows bent, though it can occur in other situations, as well.

Signs and symptoms of distal biceps tendons rupture are:

  • Feeling a popping sensation right when the injury occurs
  • Intense pain that quickly subsides
  • Swelling and bruising in front of the elbow
  • Weakness in the affected arm


Physical examination
Your doctor will conduct a complete physical examination and collect your health history to help make the diagnosis.

Your doctor may order an X-ray to see if there are other injuries in your elbow.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Your doctor may order an MRI to see if your biceps tendon is partially torn or fully ruptured.


Your specialist may recommend that you keep your arm in a sling to limit motion during healing.

Anti-inflammatory medicine
Your doctor may recommend you take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication – such as ibuprofen – to help relieve pain and swelling.

Physical therapy
In most cases, your healthcare provider will prescribe rehabilitation therapy. Our physical therapists establish a unique plan of care that includes specific interventions for your condition and situation to help alleviate pain and improve mobility.

If you require full use and strength of your arm following this injury, surgery will likely be your best option. Your care team will speak with you about the options for your situation.

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

World-class care in an academic health system. As a research and teaching institution, we treat children and adults with proven, leading-edge procedures based on clinical studies performed at the Miller School of Medicine. Our doctors, residents, nurses, and therapists work together to create healthy outcomes.

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