I’ve Torn My Bicep Tendon: Will It Heal on Its Own?

Have you ever experienced a sharp jolt of shoulder pain when trying to raise your arm? That might mean you’ve torn your bicep tendon.

Many people have felt the pain of a torn bicep tendon. After all, so many daily activities include the use of your biceps. That is until you suffer an injury to the tendons that help connect these important muscles to your shoulders and arms. 

While all tendon tears are painful, their severity can determine the type of treatment you need. Potential solutions range from rest to surgery. Working with a good orthopedist is a crucial part of making a full recovery. 

If you think you're hurting because of a torn bicep tendon, come see us at McKenna Orthopedics. Dr. Wade McKenna and the rest of our team will work with you to create a custom treatment plan that’ll provide you with relief.

Dr. McKenna is an excellent orthopedic surgeon who is world-renowned for his expertise and advanced therapies. He’s an expert on shoulder pain and will make sure your tendons get the care they deserve.

The anatomy of the bicep

Although your bicep is located in the upper arm, it’s actually attached to the forearm and shoulder. The proximal biceps tendons connect the shoulder with the biceps while the distal biceps tendons make the bicep-forearm connection possible. When the biceps contract, it helps pull the arm upward and outward, facilitating a large range of motion.

On shoulder pain

You’ve probably felt shoulder pain at some point in your life, whether from an injury or just sleeping in an odd position. If you’ve been suffering through an extended period of shoulder pain, you could have one of the following common injuries:

Most shoulder pain is associated with a tear is the proximal tendons – a distal tear would likely result in elbow pain.

Bicep tendon injuries

Tendon injuries come in three basic types: tendinitis, partial tears, and complete tears. Tendinitis is the most common and easiest to treat. However, total tears are rare and often require invasive surgery to repair. 

Dr. McKenna’s team will use a comprehensive exam to diagnose the source of your shoulder pain and determine if a tendon injury is the root cause. In addition to reviewing your symptoms and evaluating your shoulder, we may also recommend imaging, like x-rays or an MRI, to confirm your injury.

Treating bicep tendon injuries

Tendinitis, which results in microtears from excessive use, can usually be treated with rest and over the counter painkillers. Your tendon needs time to close the small tears and will heal as long as you give it enough time. 

Partial tears typically heal with rest as well. If you’re in a lot of pain from the tear or from severe tendinitis, Dr. Mckenna may recommend corticosteroid injections. Severe partial tears may also need to be rehabilitated through physical therapy. 

In the event you suffer a complete tear, you'll need surgery followed by physical therapy. Most patients fully recover but you probably won’t be able to resume full movement until 14-20 weeks after treatment.

Suffering from shoulder pain? We can help at McKenna Orthopedics. Contact us to request an appointment at our Decatur or Trophy Club office today.

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