A biceps tendon rupture is an injury that occurs to the biceps tendon causing the attachment to separate from the bone or the tendon to tear. 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 certain movements may be weakened and painful.
Tears of the biceps tendon at the elbow are uncommon. They are most often caused by a sudden injury and tend to result in greater arm weakness than injuries to the biceps tendon at the shoulder. Once torn, the biceps tendon at the elbow will not grow back to the bone and heal.
When the rupture occurs at the distal biceps tendon on the elbow, where there is only one attachment, then surgical repair is often recommended.
If pain persists after a proximal biceps tendon rupture, other possible causes of shoulder pain should be considered. These may include rotator cuff tears, impingement syndrome, or fractures around the shoulder.