Biceps Tendonitis

Pathophysiology

The long head of biceps is approximately 9cm long and passes through a groove in the upper arm bone (Humerus) and is susceptible to injury. Biceps tendonitis is when the long head of biceps becomes irritated leading to pain at the front of the shoulder. It is often associated with rotator cuff problems but can also occur alone.

Symptoms

  • Pain at the front of the shoulder
  • Pain with lifting activities, overhead activities or bending of the elbow under weight
  • May be painful if passively stretched, with the elbow out straight
  • Pain when reaching behind your back

Management

  • Activity modification
  • Ice or heat
  • Pain relief
  • Physiotherapy

Investigations

  • Generally not indicated, if symptoms are not improving with conservative measures after 3 months a steroid injection may be considered.

Exercises to try:

Biceps Loading

Biceps Curl

In standing or sitting

Slowly bend your elbow and bring your hand towards your shoulder

Slowly straighten out again and repeat

(This can be done with or without a weight)

ER

Supported External Rotation

Sitting next to a table with a pillow supporting your upper arm

Bend your elbow to 90 degrees

Gently rotate your lower arm towards the table and away

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