Torn Right Distal Bicep Tendon

So by now, everyone knows I injured my arm in class a couple of weeks ago. I actually tore the tendon of my right bicep that connects at the elbow on the radial bone. The bicep  brachii muscle is tri-articulate which means that it works across three joints. The most important of these functions is to supinate (or rotate) the forearm and flex the elbow. These joints and the associated actions are listed as follows in order of importance:

  • Proximal radioulnar joint (upper forearm) – Contrary to popular belief, the biceps brachii is not the most powerful flexor of the forearm, a role which actually belongs to the deeper brachialis muscle. The biceps brachii functions primarily as a powerful supinator of the forearm (turns the palm upwards). This action, which is aided by the supinator muscle, requires the elbow to be at least partially flexed. If the elbow, or humeroulnar joint, is fully extended, supination is then primarily carried out by the supinator muscle.
  • Humeroulnar joint (elbow) – The biceps brachii also functions as an important flexor of the forearm, particularly when the forearm is supinated. Functionally, this action is performed when lifting an object, such as a bag of groceries or when performing a biceps curl. When the forearm is in pronation (the palm faces the ground), the brachialis, brachioradialis, and supinator function to flex the forearm, with minimal contribution from the biceps brachii.
  • Glenohumeral joint (shoulder) – Several weaker functions occur at the glenohumeral, or shoulder, joint. The biceps brachii weakly assists in forward flexion of the shoulder joint (bringing the arm forward and upwards). It may also contribute to abduction (bringing the arm out to the side) when the arm is externally (or laterally) rotated. The short head of the biceps brachii also assists with horizontal adduction (bringing the arm across the body) when the arm is internally (or medially) rotated. Finally, the long head of the biceps brachii, due to its attachment to the scapula (or shoulder blade), assists with stabilization of the shoulder joint when a heavy weight is carried in the arm.

So when I was given the choice of surgery to reattach the bicep or no surgery at all, it was a no-brainer–surgery. Not repairing it would essentially prohibit me from karate as well as the simple act of turning a screwdriver.

I found a really good article on the surgery that was performed on my arm, however I did not have the achilles graft that is pictured at the end. Everything is healing nicely and I am in very little pain, as a matter of fact, the injury itself did not hurt very much at all. It felt like being snapped with a rubber band. The cause of ruptures distal bicep tendon is usually attributed to chronic wear of the tendon more so than an injury. So most likely, my tendon just wore out from overuse, which in my case, can probably be attributed to drawing with a pen and mouse 6+ hours a day and it just so happened to have snapped during class.

But don’t fear my fellow karateka, I will be good as new in no time and ready to beat up on my favorite ukes.


One Response to “Torn Right Distal Bicep Tendon”
  1. Brian says:


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