What is distal bicep tendon pain?

Pain that originates in the distal bicep tendon is felt primarily in the front of the elbow. It is common in weight lifters, manual workers, and racquet sports participants. It’s more common in guys between the ages of 20 and 40, especially those who lift large weights at the gym.

A tear, a rupture, or a tendinopathy can cause distal bicep tendon pain. A tear is more likely if you can recall an incident or injury in which you injured your elbow; otherwise, they can happen for no apparent cause. A diagnostic ultrasound is required to determine the degree of the injury. Physiotherapy and activity adjustment are effective for the majority of distal bicep tendon problems (relative rest). If they don’t get better, ultrasound-guided injection therapy and/or shockwave treatment can help with pain alleviation. Surgical intervention is reserved for tendons that have ruptured, that is, when the tendon has ruptured.

Biceps Tendon Tear at the Elbow - OrthoInfo - AAOS

What are the symptoms of distal bicep pain?

The symptoms of a distal bicep tendon pain are:

  • Pain at the front of the elbow joint  – near the elbow crease
  • Pain that is made worse by bending the elbow e.g., during a biceps curl or whilst rotating the forearm e.g., if you rotate your palm up to face the ceiling
  • Feeling of weakness in the arm

If this sounds like your pain, read on…

What are some additional conditions that are similar to

distal bicep tendon pain?

  1. Golfer’s elbow
  2. Tennis Elbow
  3. Posterior Interosseus Nerve (PIN) entrapment

Distal bicep tendon vs Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is sometimes misdiagnosed as pain arising from the distal biceps tendon. Tennis elbow causes precise pain and point tenderness on the outside of the bone, but distal biceps pain can be harder to pinpoint. Tennis elbow is aggravated by gripping and cocking the wrist, whereas distal biceps tendons discomfort is aggravated by bending the elbow and also turning your palm up (especially against some resistance). Twisting and turning, such as opening a jar or turning a door handle, can aggravate both.