Can bodybuilding cause biceps tendon injuries?

Biceps tendon injuries are considered common among bodybuilders. These injuries at the elbow usually occur when the elbow of the individual is straightened forcefully against resistance. Always bear in mind that biceps tendon injuries are unlikely to occur when the elbow is bent forcibly against a heavy load such as a barbell or dumbbell. In most circumstances, the biceps tendon injuries linked to bodybuilding typically respond well to conservative treatment measures.

Structure of the biceps tendon

The biceps brachii muscle is a noticeable muscle positioned on the front or anterior aspect of the upper arm. The muscle originates from two positions on the shoulder blade or scapula and its tendon inserts or connects to the bicipital aponeurosis which is a flattened, fibrous membrane on the front aspect of the elbow. Always bear in mind that the biceps brachii muscle flexes the forearm at the elbow as well as flexing the upper arm at the shoulder.

What are the causes?

The main cause of biceps tendon injuries including the biceps tendon tear is any form of abrupt injury. In most circumstances, tears on the biceps tendon are not linked to other health conditions. Lack of warm up, abrupt cooling off, unguarded movements, muscle overload and inadequate nutrition are contributing factors to bodybuilding injuries counting biceps tendon injuries. The biceps tendon injuries are more expected to develop during some weightlifting maneuvers particularly biceps curls.

What are the symptoms?

Biceps tendon injuries

The symptoms linked with biceps tendon injuries usually depend on the severity of the injury and if it involves a complete or partial tear on the fibers of the tendon.

The symptoms linked with biceps tendon injuries usually depend on the severity of the injury and if it involves a complete or partial tear on the fibers of the tendon. The potential signs and symptoms linked with biceps tendon injuries include a perceivable popping in the elbow at the time of injury, intense pain in the front part of the elbow that subsides after 1-2 weeks, swelling and bruising at the front of the elbow and weakness while bending the elbow and twisting the forearm. In severe cases, there is an evident and palpable protuberance in the upper arm.

Potential risk factors

Certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of ending up with biceps tendon injuries. Men over 30 years old are more likely than women to develop strains or ruptures on the biceps tendon. Other risk factors include the use of corticosteroid medications and smoking.

Long-term consumption of nicotine from cigarette smoking can affect the supply of nutrition in the tendon, thus making it weak and prone to injury. As for corticosteroid medications, they are also linked with increased biceps muscle and tendon weakness.


The treatment for biceps tendon injuries usually depends on the type of injury sustained by the individual. When it comes to complete tears on the biceps tendon, they usually require surgery that involves reattachment of the biceps tendon to the forearm bone.

The surgical complications linked with this surgery are known to occur. The elderly or those who have health issues are poor candidates for surgery. For minor biceps tendon injuries, they typically respond well to conservative measures such as rehabilitation exercises as well as manual medicine techniques.


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