Dr. Carlos Rebollón
Treatment of distal biceps tendon rupture in Panama
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Treatment of distal biceps tendon rupture
Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture
Tears, ruptures, or avulsions of the distal biceps tendon (closest to the elbow) are a painful type of injury that requires immediate medical attention. A specialist in elbow conditions is the appropriate professional for the diagnosis and treatment of these cases.
Distal biceps rupture causes sudden and sharp pain that affects the front part of the elbow, leading to limited active mobility of the arm as a result of the injury. Timely treatment is crucial to restore proper functioning of the affected limb.
What is distal biceps rupture?
It is a rare injury that occurs when the muscle-tendon junction between the biceps and the radial tuberosity is torn. The biceps is one of the muscles involved in forearm supination (turning the palm upward) as well as elbow flexion. Currently, the incidence of distal biceps rupture has increased due to the rise in physical activity among middle-aged individuals, steroid use, and smoking.
Symptoms of distal biceps rupture
Signs of distal tendon rupture may include:
Medically, the diagnosis of biceps tendon rupture is straightforward as the injury results in evident shortening of the tendon in its distal part and a well-defined episode of pain at the elbow. However, imaging tests (such as X-rays, MRI scans, etc.) may also be performed to rule out other elbow injuries and determine whether the rupture is partial or complete.
Causes of distal biceps rupture
Distal biceps rupture often occurs due to excessive tension when transitioning unexpectedly from flexion to extension with a weight load and a pulling force greater than 40 kilograms, generating resistance in the elbow area and ultimately causing tendon rupture.
Fortunately, such cases are relatively rare, with active athletes and individuals over 40 years old with excessive lifting jobs being the most affected.
Treatments for distal biceps tendon rupture
To determine the appropriate treatment method, it is essential to determine whether the rupture is partial or complete. Most partial ruptures can be treated conservatively, while with a complete rupture, surgical intervention may need to be considered for better outcomes.
Some of the most effective treatments for distal biceps tendon rupture include:
REST AND IMMOBILIZATION
Your doctor may recommend the use of a sling for a few days to limit the mobility of the affected area while it heals.
The use of anti-inflammatory drugs is essential to reduce inflammation and alleviate typical pain associated with the injury.
Rehabilitation therapy is the most appropriate option to fully recover from this type of condition. Physical therapists will create a personalized plan based on your condition to help reduce discomfort and restore arm and elbow mobility.
Surgical treatment is recommended for young and/or physically active people. During the procedure, the biceps tendon is re-anchored to the bicipital tuberosity of the radius by means of a special technique and approach, which will be chosen in advance by your surgeon.
Rehabilitation process for distal biceps tendon rupture
After surgery, the elbow joint is immobilized with a bandage or hinged brace for one week. During this time, you will need to take your medications, apply cold compresses to reduce swelling, and use a sling.
From the first week, your doctor will likely authorize the removal of the sling so that you can perform specific exercises that gradually increase elbow mobility.
Within a couple of weeks, the time without the sling will be extended to allow the patient to regain normal function. By the sixth week, the patient should permanently stop using the sling and focus on exercises of moderate strength.
Operated patients should avoid lifting weights before 3 months after distal biceps surgery. Most individuals can resume driving after 3 weeks and return to work after the initial 2 to 4 months post-surgery, depending on the type of job activity and with prior medical clearance.