Distal Biceps Ruptures

By Garry S. Kitay, MD

Distal Biceps Ruptures

Distal bicep ruptures of the biceps from its attachment in the upper part of the forearm is an infrequent injury, but one that is commonly seen by the upper extremity specialist. It typically develops in an individual around the age of 50 who has forced extension of the flexed elbow. In addition, this can occur when lifting a heavy object with the elbow flexed that suddenly slips. In addition, this dramatically increases the load on the biceps in the soon to be injured individual. The biceps cannot tolerate this dramatic increase in force, and it ruptures from its attachment. In fact, the patient often describes hearing a “pop”.

Image of Shoulder Pain

Image of Shoulder Pain

Also, it does lead to swelling and often significant bruising around the forearm near the elbow crease. Also notable on the examination is that without its attachment to the forearm. Furthermore, the biceps retracts up the arm and leads to what is commonly called “a Popeye muscle”.

Loss of the biceps tendon can lead to weakness of certain activities of the elbow. This is particularly involving such motions as forearm rotation otherwise known as supination. In addition, this can also lead to loss of endurance. The recommended treatment for the active individual is repair of the biceps back to its insertion in the forearm bone. Also, this is performed with a surgical procedure that anchors the biceps, and generally leads to excellent results with restoration of full range of motion and strength.

Read more about the 5 shoulder symptoms you should not ignore.

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