Elbow and Arm

Biceps Tendon Tear at the Elbow

Injury to the biceps tendon can occur when the arm is forced to straighten. The tendon is typically pulled from its attachment point near the elbow. Since the biceps work with other muscles crossing the elbow joint, these other muscles will still allow the arm to perform all the normal actions usually commanded by the biceps; however, strength will be reduced, particularly in twisting motions.

To see if you have damaged your biceps tendon, physicians generally look for swelling in front of the elbow, weakness bending the elbow or twisting the forearm against resistance, bruising, or a gap created by shortening of the biceps tendon on the front of the elbow. When the tendon disconnects, there is usually the sound of a “pop” in the elbow. Swelling is likely.

Non-surgical treatment involves rest and a gradual return to normal activity. This will result in a significant loss of power, as the biceps are not repaired. Surgery, combined with post-op rehabilitation and exercises, give a greater chance for a full-strength recovery.

Tennis Elbow / Golfer’s Elbow / Tendonitis
The name is misleading, as Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow are not limited to the sports they are named after; any repetitive activity can lead to contracting these. When the tendons in the elbow are stretched beyond capacity, they become inflamed and tender.

Tenderness is heightened when gripping or turning items, like opening a jar. Pain will run from your elbow down to either the thumb (tennis elbow) or pinky (golfer’s elbow) side of your forearm.

Anti-inflammatory medications are often prescribed for such injuries along with resting the elbow, applying ice, and using a splint or brace for extra support and comfort.

Bursitis in the Elbow/Arm
This is the term used for the inflammation of the bursa, a sac that decreases friction between joints moving in different directions. When the bursa becomes enflamed, any further use of it causes increased irritation. This condition arises from overuse of a repetitive movement or continuous and excessive pressure, like resting your elbows on a desktop for long periods of time.

There are many types of bursitis (elbow, knee, shoulder, hip, etc), but most diagnoses are consistent in that each show tenderness and swelling over the bursa along with pain during movement. Inflamed bursas carry a small chance of getting infected. If you experience open wounds around the area of bursitis, redness, or a fever/chills, contact a doctor immediately.

Treating bursitis is a matter of resting and protecting the affected area. Ice it down, take anti-inflammatory medicines to control swelling, with physical therapy & cortisone injections available for persistent cases. Physical rehab may be recommended for serious cases.

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