Distal Biceps Tendinopathy

What is Distal Biceps Tendinopathy?

This is degeneration of the tendon that attaches the bicepsmuscle of the upper arm to the radius bone of the forearm.  This typically causes pain in the frontof the elbow that may be made worse by lifting or twisting motions of theforearm below the elbow.

How the diagnosis of Distal Biceps Tendinopathy made?

The diagnosis can be made after a careful history andphysical examination.  In mostcases the pain will come on gradually and will increase with time.  The pain will be felt at the front ofthe elbow.  The pain may be madeworse by lifting or twisting motions. Swelling of the front of the elbow may occur.  Pressing on the tendon will typically cause pain.

An ultrasound scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan may help to make the diagnosis when there is doubt.

What is the treatment?

The first line of treatment that will be successful intreating the majority of cases is modification of activities, rest and physiotherapy with stretching and eccentric loading exercises.

If this treatment does not work you surgeon may suggest an injection with platelet rich plasma (PRP).  In some cases looking at the attachment of the tendon on to the bone using a keyhole technique (distal biceps tendon bursoscopy) may help to identify of there is any tearing of the tendon.

Most cases will settle with time.  There may be an association with rupture of the distal biceps tendon.