Biceps Tendonitis

Biceps tendonitis at a glance

  • Biceps tendonitis (also known as bicipital tendonitis or tendinitis) is inflammation of the tendons that connect the biceps muscle to the top of the shoulder.
  • Causes of biceps tendonitis include overuse, wear and tear from aging, or injuries to the shoulder.
  • Symptoms often include aching pain that increases with use of the arm and shoulder, as well as weakness when bending at the elbow or twisting the arm.
  • Treatment includes rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine, and physical therapy. Surgery may also be a treatment option. Be sure to talk to your pharmacist before purchasing anti-inflammatories as these medications may be contraindicated as they may interact with other medications and medical conditions.

Causes of biceps tendonitis

Biceps tendonitis is a condition affecting the upper arm and shoulder. When the tendons that connect the biceps muscle to the bones in the shoulder joint become inflamed due to repetitive motion, overuse, or injury, tendonitis may develop.

Sports activities like golf, tennis, and swimming can cause biceps tendonitis, as well as work activities that require frequent overhead motions or heavy lifting. In some cases, it may develop following an injury to the shoulder, such as a fall or blow.

If a person already has a rotator cuff tear, shoulder impingement, or other shoulder injuries, they are more likely to develop biceps tendonitis as well.

The normal degeneration of the tissues of the shoulder from aging also causes biceps tendonitis.

Symptoms of biceps tendonitis

With biceps tendonitis, patients often experience a deep ache in the shoulder joint and upper arm muscles. It may be difficult to bend or twist the arm, and the arm may feel weak. The pain and weakness tend to worsen when moved, and improve when the arm and shoulder are at rest.

Treatment for biceps tendonitis

Treatment for biceps tendonitis begins with resting the shoulder whenever possible, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines like Advil or Aleve. Physical therapy may be recommended to both stretch and strengthen the shoulder and affected areas.

If the symptoms do not improve with conservative treatment, or if there are other underlying conditions, it may be necessary to have surgery to correct biceps tendonitis.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain and symptoms of bicep tendonitis, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians to learn about the treatment options available to you.