Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Injuries and Medical Advice

Biceps: Tendon Tear

I've got an injury in the left biceps close to the elbow. The pain appeared after I tried a route with hard undercling moves two months ago. After resting for two weeks, I tried to rehab the arm with curls at low weights but this still causes pain.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Annual gear guides for climbing, camping, skiing, cycling, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 6 Weeks to Stronger Fingers and Strength Training for Injury Prevention
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

I’ve got an injury in the left biceps close to the elbow. The pain appeared after I tried a route with hard undercling moves two months ago. After resting for two weeks, I tried to rehab the arm with curls at low weights but this still causes pain. Something feels wrong when I do supination [rotating the forearm from palm down to palm up] exercises with my elbow at 90 degrees, holding a one pound hammer. The MRI showed some inflammation/edema around the ulna insertion. I’ve had lots of physiotherapy (friction massage and ultrasound), done no climbing or training, and am just doing the curls from time to time.

Tom Braun| Rock and Ice Forum

A year ago I went bolting even though I had learned long ago that bolting is no more a rest-day activity than practicing back flips (tried that: WRONG!). Something bad happened that fateful bolting day, because the following day when I went out the back door to let the chooks out, I lifted the door slightly and AHHHHHH! SHITZER!

Since then the pain has fluctuated, but to this day underclings piss me off only slightly less than the radiation from my mobile phone.

Although there are some genetic variations depending on whether your progenitors prowled beyond the local precinct, there are usually two tendons that have separate attachments to the radius (there are two heads to the bicep). An additional superficial attachment extends across the front of the forearm over the ulna, though it is not certain what this actually does (other than get injured).

This latter anchor, known as the bicep aponeurosis, is the likely point of damage. Strains to bicep insertions at your elbow are uncommon. I am tempted to say it is more common in climbers but since I don’t see many other people that could be misleading. Cage fighting? Dwarf throwing?

The pain pattern and history is typically quite similar to that of tendonosis, though I have not seen a radiology report suggesting as much.

Try this recipe: three teaspoons of religious-strength zeal each morning. Add to that three sets of 10 repetitions, morning and night (start with two sets for a week or so) of eccentric bicep curls that incorporate a 180-degree twist of your forearm (from palm facing your shoulder to palm facing your thigh). Three days on, two days off.

RELATED LINKS

Shoulder, Torn Labrum and SLAP Lesion

Frozen Shoulder

Shoulder Pain and Virus

Shoulder Separation

Shoulder, SLAP Lesion and Cortisone

Shoulder and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Biceps Partial Dislocation

Biceps Reattachment Surgery