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Biceps Tendon Injuries

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The biceps muscles are located at the front of your upper arm. The biceps have two tendons (tough strips of tissue that allow you to move your limbs) that connect it to the bones of the shoulder and another tendon that connects it to the bone of the elbow. 

Types of biceps tendon injuries include:

  • Biceps tendon tears: damage to a tendon can occur at the shoulder or elbow
  • Biceps tendonitis: inflammation (swelling) or irritation of the tendon connecting the biceps to the shoulder
  • Shoulder tears: damage to the tendon connecting the biceps to the shoulder
  • Elbow (distal biceps tendon) tears: damage to the tendon that connects the biceps to the elbow

Symptoms of biceps tendon injuries are:

  • Bruise on the upper arm or forearm near the elbow
  • Difficulty rotating your arm from a “palm down” to a “palm up” position
  • Feeling of a pop when the injury occurs
  • Sudden, severe pain in the upper part of your arm or at the elbow
  • Weakness in the affected shoulder and/or elbow


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

Your doctor may order an imaging test – such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, or computerized tomography (CT) scan – to help confirm the diagnosis.


Physical therapy
In most cases, your health care 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.

Your doctor may recommend ibuprofen or naproxen for pain relief and to decrease inflammation.

Slings and immobilizers
Your specialist may recommend that you use a sling or immobilizer to keep you from lifting your arm away from your chest, so the injury can properly heal.

Arthroscopic surgery
Our expert team of specialists is board certified and fellowship-trained to manage these problems with minimally invasive approaches (where applicable) for patients with more severe injuries. Arthroscopic surgery is a same-day procedure that can be used to reposition bones and repair torn tendons.

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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