This condition is a tear of one of the tendons that anchor the biceps muscle to the shoulder. The upper end of the biceps muscle is divided into two separate sections called the long head and the short head. The long head passes over the head of the humerus and attaches to the glenoid. The short head passes in front of the humerus and attaches to a bony protrusion, called the coracoid, on the shoulder blade.

Biceps tendon ruptures can be caused by trauma, such as using the arm to break a fall, or by repetitive motions such as throwing.

Symptoms can include a sharp pain in the shoulder, a snapping sound, and a bulging muscle above the elbow caused by the muscle pulling down away from the shoulder.

Treatment options vary depending on whether the tear is partial or complete. Some partial tears may be treated with rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. Severe tears may require surgical treatment.