Biceps tendinitis is an irritation or inflammation of the biceps tendon at the shoulder. The biceps tendon helps stabilize the humerus, which aids in activities that involve overhead motion, such as tennis or throwing a ball. If left untreated, it can lead to a deformity known as "Popeye's bulge".
What You Need to Know About Biceps Tendonitis
What is Biceps Tendonitis?
Biceps tendonitis is an overuse injury that causes radiating pain in your shoulder or elbow. There are two tendons on your biceps muscle. One tendon runs to the shoulder, and the other goes to the elbow. These tendons stabilize the elbow and help you perform complex overhead motions like throwing a ball, returning a tennis serve, or swimming.
Overuse of the biceps muscle can cause the long head of the tendon to become swollen. In the beginning stages of biceps tendonitis, this causes redness and inflammation. However, as biceps tendonitis develops, the tendon can thicken or enlarge. If left untreated, some cases can even lead to a "Popeye's bulge" deformity.
Get started on your biceps tendonitis recovery by scheduling an appointment at Resurgens Orthopaedics now! We are ready to serve you at one of our 24 convenient Atlanta-area locations.
What Causes Biceps Tendonitis?
Biceps tendonitis can be the result of normal wear and tear on your biceps. However, some people may experience bicep tendon pain as a result of repetitive over-the-shoulder movements. For example, athletes who participate in sports like tennis, swimming, baseball, or golf, rely on their biceps and may accelerate the condition.
Other contributing factors to biceps tendonitis include:
Chronic shoulder instability
Lifting an overly heavy object
Undisciplined technique while playing sports
Biceps Tendonitis Symptoms
People with biceps tendonitis most often experience sudden episodes of pain in their elbow or upper arm. Episodes may be accompanied by feeling or hearing a popping sound.
While experiencing biceps tendonitis, you may notice or experience these symptoms:
Persistent pain in the front region of the shoulder.
Bruising near the forearm or upper arm of the elbow.
Ache or pain that radiates down the bones of the upper arm.
A noticeably new shape in how your elbow looks.
Biceps tendonitis pain occurs in either the shoulder or elbow. It is not common to experience symptoms in both parts of your body simultaneously.
How is Biceps Tendonitis Diagnosed?
Finding the right care for biceps tendonitis pain starts with a visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics. During your consultation, a physician will take a look at your sensitive areas. You may feel some light irritation as they ask you to demonstrate activities that cause pain. This physical examination is an important first step, so be patient with your physician.
Narrowing down the exact cause of your bicep tendon pain may require the use of diagnostic imaging. X-rays and MRIs are used to pinpoint the cause of your pain, and visualize the extent of your condition. This information is necessary because Resurgens Orthopaedics customizes every treatment plan to our patient's needs.
Biceps Tendonitis Treatment
There are many biceps tendonitis treatment options. Resurgens Orthopaedics offers many surgical and nonsurgical treatment plans for biceps tendonitis. Your physician will create the best plan for your needs and lifestyle goals.
Mild cases of biceps tendonitis may respond well to RICE therapy and physical therapy. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen may help alleviate inflammation and irritation.
Some people may benefit from steroid injections or other non-surgical solutions.
More severe cases of biceps tendonitis may require a surgical solution. Many of these surgeries can be performed with minimally invasive procedures that have minimal scarring and recovery time.
Biceps tenodesis can take the form of a minimally-invasive procedure or a traditional open surgery. During this procedure, the bicep tendon is detached from the labrum. Then the surgeon reattaches the lost tendon to the arm bone with a special interference screw. Other surgical procedures like tenotomy may provide a better outcome.
Bicep tendon pain can put your whole life on pause. Get back to doing what you love by scheduling an appointment with the biceps tendonitis experts at Resurgens Orthopaedics.