The biceps tendon is the structure that connects the biceps muscle to the bone. There is a proximal biceps tendon at the shoulder joint, and a distal biceps tendon at the elbow.
A biceps tendon rupture is an injury that occurs to the biceps tendon causing the attachment to separate from the bone.
A normal biceps tendon is connected strongly to the bone. When the biceps tendon ruptures, this tendon is detached. Following a biceps tendon rupture, the muscle cannot pull on the bone, and when the chiropractor examines you it is obvious that certain movements are weakened and painful.
It is most common in patients over 60 years of age, and often causes minimal symptoms. Rupture of the proximal head of the biceps tendon involves one of two heads of the biceps tendon.
This condition is caused by degenerative changes within the biceps tendon leading to failure of the structure. Most patients have preceding shoulder pain consistent with impingement syndrome or a rotator cuff tear.
The biceps tendon rupture may then occur during a trivial activity, and some patients may experience some pain relief once the damaged tendon ruptures.
The biceps tendon can rupture in a younger patient with activities such as weightlifting or throwing sports, but this is quite unusual.
Usually, patients will have sudden pain associated with an audible snap in the area of their shoulder.
The pain is usually not significant, and, as mentioned previously, some patients may experience pain relief after the rupture.
After the ruptured tendon retracts, patients may notice a bulge in their arm at the biceps muscle. This is the retracted muscle bunched up in the arm, and is sometime referred to as a "Popeye Muscle," because the muscle is more pronounced than normal.
A biceps tendon rupture is usually the end result of years of overuse and no doubt repeated episodes of pain.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain, even on an intermittent basis, you should have it looked at by a chiropractor, who will be able to help you prevent any disabling shoulder pain.
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