What is a Distal Biceps Tendon Partial Tear?

Biceps, the muscles on the front of the arm between the shoulder and the elbow, are connected to the humerus bone by tendons on either end. The tendon at the distal end, the side that meets the elbow, is known as the distal biceps tendon; it controls, among other actions, forearm rotation, like turning a screwdriver. Tears in this tendon can be partial or complete, and both can have far reaching consequences for arm strength unless properly addressed.

Causes & Symptoms

Tears in the distal biceps tendon, partial or complete, are generally caused by rapid and/or forced extension of the elbow. It is uncommon for a tear to occur simply because of heavy lifting alone; rather, an unexpected load can force the arm to straighten and tear the tendon.

Pain typically occurs during the acute injury (sometimes accompanied by a pop sound) but subsides after one or two weeks. Bruising on the arm is likely, but other visible symptoms are uncommon if the tear is partial. Noticeable weakness in the arm is almost certain, especially with twisting motions.

 

Treatments

Platelets are the part of blood that form clots, and the aid in regenerating tissue. Platelet Rich Plasma (or PRP) Therapy involves reintroducing a patient’s own blood back into their body after increasing platelet density through the use of a centrifuge.

This technique can be used to heal a partial tear in the distal biceps tendon by injecting PRP into key points on a patient’s arm. These may be places where there is the most physical damage or places in which the patient is experiencing the most pain.

This type of therapy is gaining popularity in professional athletics because of its ability to increase the recovery rate of injured players.