What is Biceps Tendonitis?
Biceps tendonitis commonly affects the over 40's, whereby the tendon of the biceps muscle which passes through the front of the shoulder and attaches to the top of the shoulder becomes inflamed and develops tendonitis. Also known as longhead of biceps tendonitis, the condition causes a dull pain at the front and top of the shoulder and is usually of gradual onset with increasing intensity over time.
Biceps tendonitis is caused by repetitive over head activities and sports which cause wear and tear on the the tendon. If biceps tendonitis isn't treated and the activities causing the condition are allowed to continue beyond 6 months, the condition can develop into chronic biceps tendonitis which is a much more difficult condition to treat.
Symptoms of the condition include pain, inflammation and swelling, and it is often found in association with other shoulder conditions such as SLAP Tear and Rotator Cuff Tear due to the repetitive wear and tear nature of the injury and the risk of degenerative shoulder conditions with increasing age.
It is important to get your shoulder pain diagnosed by a professional so that you can manage your condition correctly. Dr Manish Gupta is a shoulder expert and will help you determine what is causing your pain and advise you the best plan to fix it quickly.
Chronic shoulder pain? You need a shoulder expert!
If you suspect a biceps tendonitis injury to your shoulder, don't wait until it becomes a chronic condition which is much harder to treat and which may cause additional injury and harm to your shoulder.
If you suspect a biceps tendonitis injury, it is important to treat it quickly before it becomes a chronic condition.
Dr Manish Gupta is a qualified shoulder expert and available to help you with your biceps tendonitis condition. Book a consult to see Dr Gupta online by using our special PRIORITY booking form.
Symptoms of Biceps Tendonitis
Biceps tendonitis may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Dull ache at the top and front of the shoulder
- Associated clicking or snapping in the shoulder
- Aggravated pain by combined shoulder and elbow activity
What Causes Biceps Tendonitis?
Biceps tendonitis may be caused by:
- Overloading the biceps muscle, particularly caused by activities above the height of the shoulder
- Overusing the biceps muscle, particularly caused by activities above the height of the shoulder
- Wear and tear of the biceps tendon, caused by poor shoulder movement
Biceps tendon injury is typically caused by high velocity repetitive arm movements, like pitching a ball or pulling a rope, that overload the biceps tendon attachment in the shoulder. These type of injuries are often slow onset injuries that worsen over time, however, if the movement is forceful enough, they may cause immediate pain and instability.
Wear and tear injury of the biceps tendon is common where there is poor shoulder movement, such as in cases of poor shoulder positioning caused by pain, fatigue, over developed shoulder muscles on one side of the shoulder, or poor activity technique.
Sports like baseball, cricket, sailing, throwing and weightlifting which involve repetitive, forceful movements at the top of the shoulder joint commonly cause biceps tendonitis. Sports people can still use their shoulder after sustaining biceps tendonitis and so often keep playing although the movement becomes increasingly more painful and uncomfortable. Playing sport with biceps tendonitis increases the risk of further injury.
Repetitive workplace activities like painting, plastering, and pulling on ropes commonly cause biceps tendonitis injury to the top of the shoulder. Injuries of this kind may be slow to onset and worsen over time. Since the injury is gradual, workers may neglect treating the injury immediately as pain and loss of movement is only minor. Repetition of the activity which caused the condition will risk further and more serious injury.
Chronic Shoulder Pain
Biceps tendonitis may begin as a relatively minor condition causing pain, inflammation and swelling of the tendon, however, if you do not treat biceps tendonitis early and the cause of the condition is not interrupted over a period of 6 months or more, biceps tendonitis may progress and become a chronic condition causing chronic shoulder pain.
Diagnosing Biceps Tendonitis
To diagnose biceps tendonitis, the consultant will question the patient to:
- Understand the nature of the injury (sports, work, accident, overuse etc)
- Determine the cause of the injury (impact, collision, fall, repetitive/slow onset)
- Understand the context of the suffering (age, return to sport, work, impact on daily living)
- Perform a physical examination to ascertain pain and stability
- Perform specialised shoulder tests to confirm diagnosis
A positive biceps tendonitis condition will present with:
- Aggravated pain when touching the bicipital groove of the upper arm
- Aggravated pain with combined elbow and shoulder activities, like a chin up movement
- A clicking sensation associated with combined elbow and shoulder activities
- Positive MRI
Early diagnosis and treatment of biceps tendonitis is extremely important to avoid chronic repercussions. Chronic biceps tendonitis may develop into a degenerative condition which will adversely affect the tendon and structures around it.
If you have been putting up with shoulder pain for too long, you may be causing further injury. Dr Manish Gupta is a shoulder expert and can quickly diagnose your shoulder condition to determine the best care and prevent additional shoulder problems.
Treatment for Biceps Tendonitis
Treatment of biceps tendonitis should always begin with a thorough diagnosis of your condition to understand the severity of the condition in the context of your age, your sport, your work and your life.
Bicep tendonitis injuries may be treated conservatively (non-surgically) with rest, anti-inflammatory medication or steroidal injection for pain and inflammation and with physiotherapy treatment for improved strength, better posture and shoulder function.
Surgery for biceps tendonitis is usually reserved for patients with additional conditions affecting their shoulder like SLAP tear or Rotator Cuff Tear, however, some patients with high demand sport or work activities may be indicated for surgery for biceps tendonitis alone. Biceps tenodesis surgery is the most common type of surgery used to improve biceps tendonitis.
Dr Manish Gupta understands biceps tendonitis and the pattern of its progress. Dr Gupta can help you break the tendonitis cycle and prevent further shoulder injury.