Bicep Tendonitis

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Bicep tendonitis is a condition caused by inflammation or irritation of the tendon situated in the upper arm, just beneath the shoulder bone. This tendon connects the biceps muscle to the shoulder bones. This type of tendonitis often indicates its presence by pain and weakness at the front of the shoulder. The primary method of treatment is rest (as with most overuse injuries). However, in extreme cases that do not respond to rest, the patient may have to consider surgery to correct the problem by repairing the tendon.

Bicep tendonitis is an overuse condition that is more likely to develop as the patient ages. If the patient has a job that requires repetitive overhead movements, the risk of developing the condition increases.

What Is The Bicep?

The bicep is a large muscle situated at the front of the upper arm between the shoulder and elbow. Its main anatomical function is the flexing and supination of the forearm. The biceps tendon connects this muscle to the shoulder. It is this tendon that becomes irritated or inflamed when bicep tendonits develops.

What Is Tendonitis?

In general, a tendon is a piece of tissue that connects a muscle to its adjacent bone. Tendonitis refers to any condition in which a tendon may become inflamed or irritated. Tendonitis (including of the bicep) is primarily an overuse condition.


The key symptom is pain, tenderness  and weakness  at the front of the shoulder. The patient may find that these symptoms worsen when he or she performs overhead lifting or other activity.

The pain of bicep tendonitis may also move down along the upper arm bone to the elbow over time. In severe cases, the patient may also experience an occasional snapping sound or feling in the shoulder.

Treatment of Bicep Tendonitis

As treatment, your doctor will likely suggest that you abstain from any overhead work for a while to give your bicep tendonitis a chance to recover naturally. Ice and/or NSAIDs may also be suggested to ease the pain while the tendon heals. Physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder and bicep muscles will help to reduce the risk of recurrence of the condition.

If these conservative treatment options do not work, your doctor may suggest surgery to correct your bicep tendonitis.  The specialist may perform this surgery either arthroscopically or via an open incision. In arthroscopic surgery, a specialist will insert a small camera into your shoulder joint. He or she will then use the images from the camera to repair the tendon using miniature surgical instruments.

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