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Biceps Muscle Anatomy

Simple Description

Common Name: Biceps (Popeye muscle)

Location on the Body: The biceps are the muscles in front of your arms.
Strong, cord-like structures called tendons connect one end of the biceps muscle to the shoulder in two places. At the other end of the muscle, tendons connect the biceps muscle to the smaller bone (radius) in the lower arm.

Motion Performed: When you bend your arm to pick something up, you use your biceps. They help keep the upper arm bone (humerus) in the shoulder socket. It also helps speed up and slow downd the arms during overhead movement in activities like tennis, pitching or lifting weights.

How do biceps injuries occur?
Age, or inactivity can weaken a muscle which may lead to injury due to the decreased ability to endure repetitive motions and sudden loads. The well conditioned individual, however, is not immune from biceps muscle injuries as over-training or over-activity can also harm an otherwise healthy muscle. Because of its location, a direct blow to the front of the shoulder can also cause injury. The biceps muscle can also be injured at its attachment site on top of the glenoid. This usually involves an avulsion, where the tendon is pulled off the bone and rendered unstable.

What does surgery involve?
Complete tears of the biceps muscles require surgery to reattach the muscle to the bone. This is done by arthroscopically (Using fiber optic technology and miniature instruments inserted through a small incision) removing the torn tendon stump from inside the shoulder joint and then, through a small skin incision, attaching the remaining muscle/tendon to the bone in the upper arm (humerus). If the biceps muscle/tendon is completely rupture, causing the muscle to bulge in the upper arm, it can be arthroscopically reattached using miniature screws and sutures, only if the distal portion remains near the top of the shoulder.

What is the usual course after surgery?
A simple sling is all that is needed for the first few weeks after surgery. Immediate use of the hand is encouraged, but only for very light objects. Range of motion exercises can begin as early as two weeks after surgery. Four to six weeks of healing is required before a gradual return to moderate or heavy lifting. Desk work and light-duty can usually be resumed within the first week or two. Return to forceful biceps activity is often restricted for two to six months, depending on the severity of the injury.

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