Recover From A Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture

Distal biceps tendon rupture is a tear of the biceps tendon at the elbow that usually results from a specific traumatic event rather than overuse.

More Resources to Get Better

From the Blog

Distal biceps tendon ruptures of the elbow – Answers to common questions

A distal biceps tendon rupture is a traumatic injury to the elbow. In this article, I answer some of the common questions patients have about these injuries.

Read More
From the Blog

Distal Biceps Rupture

A reader from Denver asks about treatment and recovery options from a distal biceps rupture.

Read More
From the Blog

Serious elbow injuries in athletes and active people

Traumatic injuries to the elbow occur in sports and exercise as well. In this article, I discuss some of the more common acute, traumatic injuries that you can suffer.

Read More

The Sports and Exercise Injury Primer

This series explains the top 20 injuries suffered by athletes and active people.

Read More

Ask Dr. Geier: Elbow and Forearm Injuries

How to get rid of pain, anxiety and frustration from your elbow injury.

Read More

The Injury Evaluation Course

Does the thought of seeing a doctor for your injury scare you?

Read More


That’s Gotta Hurt

The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever

Through the stories of a dozen athletes whose injuries and recovery advanced the field (including Joan Benoit, Michael Jordan, Brandi Chastain, and Tommy John), Dr. Geier explains how sports medicine makes sports safer for the pros, amateurs, student-athletes, and weekend warriors alike.

Get the Book

Frequently Asked Questions on Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture Injuries

+What is this injury?

-What is this injury?

A distal biceps tendon rupture is a tear of the biceps tendon at the elbow. It usually results from a specific traumatic event rather than overuse. The athlete notices a large amount of bruising of the arm and often a Popeye deformity, where the tendon retracts up the arm and the biceps muscle appears larger.
+What are the common treatments?

-What are the common treatments?

Distal biceps ruptures are usually reattached surgically in athletes to prevent loss of elbow flexion and supination strength. Older, less active patients can often do well and return to most normal daily activities without surgery.
+How long could it take to recover?

-How long could it take to recover?

Full recovery requires time to regain full strength, motion and elbow function. Recovery differs greatly depending on the nature of the treatment needed to fix the problem. Recovery can take 4 to 6 months or more if the doctor reattaches the tendon surgically.
+What should I ask my doctor?

-What should I ask my doctor?

It is always a good idea to ask if surgery is necessary and if there are nonsurgical treatment options that can be tried first. If you choose to undergo surgery, understanding what restrictions the surgeon will place after surgery and what you can safely do, such as driving and working, are important. Also ask when you could expect to safely return to your sport or exercise.