A torn or injured biceps tendon often results in the need for surgery to repair the damaged tendon. A biceps tendon tear most often occurs as a result of injury, such as fall on your outstretched arm or lifting something heavy. However, the tendon can also tear from overuse, which happens gradually over time. Although biceps tendon surgery is not extensive or complicated, it is important to follow a strict recovery plan to allow the biceps tendon to repair completely.
The biceps tendons attach the biceps muscle to bones in the shoulder and elbow. Occasionally, these tendons tear. A biceps tendon tear can be either a partial tear or a complete tear. A partial tear of the biceps tendon muscle occurs when the tear does not completely sever the tendon into two pieces. A complete tear, on the other hand, occurs when the biceps tendon splits into two pieces. While some tendon injuries will repair on their own, other injuries will require surgery. Biceps tendon surgery involves removing the torn part of the tendon and reattaching the remaining tendon to the bone.
For the first week after biceps tendon surgery, you will need to allow your arm to rest. Avoid extensive activity of the arm and refrain from any activity that requires forceful use of the bicep. Apply ice throughout the day to keep swelling down. The ice pack should be wrapped in a thin towel and applied for 20-minute intervals at least four times per day. It is also important that you take all medications that are prescribed by your doctor. You will likely be given antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and pain medications. You will need to wear a sling or arm brace immediately after the biceps tendon surgery to keep arm and shoulder immobilized. Speak with your doctor to determine how long the sling will need to be worn.
After one or two weeks, your doctor or physical therapist will recommend gradually returning to physical activity. Your recovery process will begin with light stretching exercises. After stretching out the muscles, your physical therapist will then ask you to do a variety of range-of-motion exercises. The goal of these exercises is to return your body to its previous range of motion and flexibility. You will gradually add strengthening exercises to your recovery routine to re-build the biceps muscle. Although physical therapy is a long and painful process, it is absolutely necessary for complete recovery from biceps tendon surgery.