When That Pain Is a Bicep Tendon Injury

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your bicep tendons. That’s because it’s easy to ignore these three crucial tendons until something goes wrong. Fortunately, Thomas F. Saylor, MD, at Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida, can help.

Here’s what you need to know about bicep tendon injuries and how to find relief.

How your bicep tendons work

If you’ve ever stood in front of a mirror to flex your muscles, you’ve seen your biceps. These well-known muscles are at the front of your upper arms and help you twist your forearm and bend your elbow. 

It takes three tendons to hold one of your biceps in place. Tendons are the tough connective tissues that attach your muscles to bone. You have two tendons connecting your bicep to your shoulder. The third tendon attaches your bicep to your forearm bones at the elbow joint.

When you injure one of your bicep tendons, they can partially tear or completely detach from the bone.

Types of bicep tendon injuries

You can sustain three primary bicep tendon injuries.

Tendon tears at the shoulder

These are the most common tendon injuries, and they occur where your bicep attaches to the shoulder, usually at the top of your shoulder socket. In most cases, these injuries develop because of normal wear and tear, but they can also occur due to an injury.

Injuries at the elbow

Injuries to the bicep tendon near your elbow are less common, and typically occur because of a sudden injury. They often cause more significant arm weakness than tears at the shoulder.


Tendonitis describes inflammation or irritation along your bicep tendon, usually at your shoulder socket. These tendon issues develop because of wear and tear or repetitive motion. Tendonitis in the biceps often occurs in conjunction with other shoulder problems, such as chronic shoulder dislocation, impingement, or arthritis.

Symptoms of a torn bicep tendon

The most common causes of torn bicep tendons are injury and overuse, resulting in symptoms that include:

It’s also common to notice a bulge in your upper arm, because your bicep muscle is no longer held properly in place.

Treatment for a torn bicep

Dr. Saylor might recommend a variety of treatments for a torn bicep based on the severity of your injury and whether it impacts other parts of your body, such as your rotator cuff.

Common treatments for a torn bicep include:

In some cases, Dr. Saylor might suggest surgical repair to restore the connection between your muscle and bone. During these procedures, Dr. Saylor uses minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques. This enables him to repair the damage without creating large incisions. This approach comes with fewer risks and faster recovery times than traditional surgical procedures.

If you have a bicep tendon injury, Dr. Saylor can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.

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