The short head biceps tendon is a tendon that connects the biceps to the shoulder. A short head biceps tendon tear can occur spontaneously among the elderly population. As the tendon retracts, the biceps muscle bunches up in the arm. It often does not need surgical repair (mostly for cosmetic reasons) and the patient is able to regain full strength and full use of the biceps, arm and shoulder.


What are the characteristics of activities that cause short head biceps tendon tears?

  • Repetitive shoulder movement especially at or above 90 degrees
  • Wear and tear due to age


Signs and symptoms of short head biceps tendon tears

  • Sudden, sharp pain in upper arm
  • Bulge in the upper arm above the elbow – may appear like the “Popeye muscle”
  • Weakness at the shoulder and elbow
  • Difficulty turning the palm up and down
  • Initial bruising in the arm


How can Physiotherapy help?

Your Physiotherapist will be able to:

  • Help you identify aggravating activities
  • Provide manual therapy to reduce initial swelling and pain
  • Provide guidance with strengthening exercises