Ruptured Bicep Tendon as a Result of a Road Traffic Accident
We have recently been able to secure damages of £60,000 for our client Mr P, a police officer, who sustained injuries to his arm, shoulder and neck, including a ruptured bicep tendon, as the result of a serious road traffic accident.
At the time of the accident, our client was travelling round a roundabout in his car. The Defendant (who was in the wrong lane) cut across the path of Mr P as he was exiting the roundabout, resulting in a collision. Our client suffered a bicep tendon tear and has been left with weakness and pain in his dominant arm. This is predicted to have an effect on his future employment possibilities, upon retirement from the police force.
Mr P was upset that he had an obvious deformity in his arm, known as a ‘Popeye deformity’, so called because the bicep muscle contracts like a ball and looks like Popeye when he eats spinach. Unfortunately, due to various factors, it was not recommended that our client have surgery in this case.
Mr P’s case was settled within 13 months of our instruction and he was over the moon with the outcome. He said, “Thank you for your ubiquitous prompt and thorough response. Many thanks again for your exemplary level of service. You [Allison] and Rebecca have been outstanding from the off and I can’t thank you enough.”
Bicep tendon tear injuries
The biceps muscle is located in the front of the upper arm and is attached to the bones of the shoulder and elbow by tendons. Tendons are strong cords of tissue that attach muscles to bones.
There are different types of ruptured bicep tendon injury (which can be partial or complete), categorised by location and severity.
Proximal bicep tendon tear at the shoulder
This injury occurs when there is a tear to one of the tendons that attaches the bicep to the shoulder. The bicep has two attachments at the shoulder: the long head which attaches to the top of the shoulder socket (glenoid) and the short head which attaches to a bump on the shoulder blade (called the coracoid process).
The long head tendon is more likely to tear than the short head tendon. This type of tear often starts as normal tendon fraying, but can also tear if you get injured. The short head tendon of the bicep rarely tears. As a result, many people can still use their arm even after a complete tear of the long head tendon. However a tear to the bicep tendon may damage other parts of the shoulder at the same time.
Distal bicep tendonitis and tear at the elbow
Tears of the bicep tendon at the elbow are uncommon. They are most often caused by a sudden injury, such as a road traffic accident, as in the case of our client, Mr P. They tend to result in greater arm weakness than injuries to the bicep tendon at the shoulder.
A ruptured bicep tendon or tear at the elbow usually happens when the elbow is pushed straight against a heavy weight. This stress can tear the tendon from the bone and usually causes a complete tear.
Once torn, the bicep tendon at the elbow will not grow back to the bone and heal. Other arm muscles make it possible to bend the elbow fairly well without the bicep tendon. However, they cannot fulfil all the functions of the elbow, especially the motion of rotating the forearm from palm down to palm up. This motion is called supination. The arm will most likely lose strength if the tendon is not repaired.
Surgery to repair the torn tendon is usually recommended to return arm strength to near normal levels. The repair must be done very soon after the accident to ensure the best outcome.
However, nonsurgical treatment is a reasonable option for patients who may not require full arm function. Non-surgical treatments include rest, ice, medication and physiotherapy to relive pain and restore functionality.