Inflammation of the Biceps Tendon At the Elbow
This condition is an inflammation of a part of the tendon that connects the biceps muscle to the radius bone at the elbow.
Symptoms of inflammation of the biceps tendon at the elbow include:
- Stiffness and soreness on the inside of the elbow, near the end of the biceps muscle
- Pain that is dull most of the time but gets sharper when you try to lift something, bend and straighten the elbow, or twist the lower part of your arm
A torn biceps tendon is when the tendon pulls partially or fully away from the bone. Symptoms of a biceps tendon tear at the elbow may include:
- A “popping” sensation at the front of the elbow at the time of injury
- Sharp pain at the time of injury. There may or may not be pain after the injury. Sometimes the pain goes away after tendon tears completely
- Swelling or bruising in the front of the elbow or the part of the arm right below the elbow
- A bump near the top of the biceps muscle
- A gap in the front of the elbow that makes it look like your upper and lower arm are not connected under the skin
- Weakness when you try to bend your arm or twist the lower part of your arm. The elbow will probably still work because of the other muscles and tendons in your arm
Treatment will depend on how serious the tear is, but may include any of the following:
- Rest. Let the tendon heal by taking a break from your usual activities that put pressure on your biceps or cause pain. Even for mild tendinitis, it is a good idea to switch to activities.
- Ice. Ice the injury right after it happens and while it is healing. Put ice in a towel or cloth and place it on the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, 3 to 4 times a day. Don’t put ice directly on your skin. When you start back to your usual activities, it may help to ice the injured area after the activity to control pain and swelling.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID). NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, can reduce pain and swelling.
- Exercise and physical therapy. Exercises that can strengthen the biceps muscles and teach proper form can help to prevent further problems. If the tendon was torn and wasn’t repaired with surgery, you may always have some weakness in that arm.
- Surgery. For severe tears, the doctor may recommend surgery. Surgery may involve tendon repair or replacement.