Bicep Tendon Injuries

biceps tendon tear

Front view of right-side bicep tendon. There are two basic types of bicep tendon injuries.
1. Tendonitis / Tendonosis injuries. This type of injury is explained in the Tendonitis / Tendonosis section.
2. Bicep Tendon Dislocations. In this type of injury, the bicep tendon will slip out of the groove of bone that it normally lies within. This is the type of injury we will discuss here.

Biceps tendonitis also usually occurs due to being pinched in impingement syndrome. In these cases the cause is basically stemmed to adhesions in the rotator cuff. The treatment results are the same as impingement in this case, with treatment to the rotator cuff using Active Release resolving the problem. Refer to the section on Impingement Syndrome for more details.

Other biceps tendon injuries may include a dislocation of the biceps tendon. The biceps tendon normally sits in a groove along the humerus. The shoulder capsule and several tendons and a ligament assist in holding the biceps tendon inside that groove. When there is rupture of the ligament that holds the biceps tendon in the groove of the humerus, this allows the biceps tendon to flop in and out of the groove as we move the shoulder.

What's Going Wrong In A Bicep Tendon Injury?

1. Adhesion. Adhesion can play a role in bicep tendon injuries in two ways. First, it can MIMIC the bicep tendon injuries. This is the most common "bicep" injury that we see. Adhesion between the bicep tendon and the muscles and tissue that surround it will create a pain in the front of the shoulder that gets worse with using the biceps, with reaching out for objects, and with doing bench-press type movements.

Adhesion in muscles that hold the bicep tendon in it's groove, such as the subcapularis or the pectoralis major can also make bicep tendon dislocations worse.

Top view of a shoulder with the bicep tendon attaching into the socket of the joint.
2. Strength and Flexibility Imbalances. Weaknesses in the muscles that hold the bicep tendon in place, such as weakness in the subscapularis (rotator cuff) can make bicep tendon dislocations worse.
3. Structural Damage or Alteration. A ligament that normally helps hold the bicep tendon in it's groove can rupture. This is the most common cause of TRUE bicep tendon dislocations.

How Can ART Help Bicep Tendon Injuries?

Adhesions in the bicep muscle, in the deltoid, upper pec or in the subscapularis muscle will make it easier for the biceps tendon to dislocate. Removing adhesions in these muscles will reduce the tension on the biceps tendon and improve the ability of the subscapularis tendon to hold the biceps in place. In more severe cases, bony spurring can develop along the bicep tendon groove that can also lead to irritation and serious damage of the bicep tendon. Sometimes these more severe cases will only improve with surgery.

Success Stories Of Those With Bicep Tendon Injuries

  • Jason H. - Police Officer, Gold Medalist TCA Competition