Bicep tendonitis pain can range from mild to severe depending on the nature of the injury and can be accompanied by inflammation. As the injury progresses it can lead to poor quality of life and trouble completing normal daily activities. This can occur on either side of the bicep: in the forearm or, more commonly, in the shoulder. Keep reading to learn more about bicep tendonitis.
Bicep tendonitis develops when the tendons connecting to the bicep muscle become inflamed. The bicep is located on the front of the upper arm and is used to flex the elbow and provide shoulder stability. The muscle splits into two different sections at the top of the arm, known as the long head and short head. The long head bicep tendon attaches directly into the shoulder socket (near the top), while the short head tendon attaches to a bony process in the shoulder blade called the coracoid. The long head bicep tendon is the most common area to be affected by inflammation associated with bicep tendonitis.
Like most cases of tendonitis, the primary cause is typically related to overuse. However, there are other mechanisms of injury that may occur as well. These include:
There are many different risk factors that can contribute to biceps tendonitis. These include:
Symptoms can vary based on which tendon is affected. Generally, symptoms include:
Traditionally, an in-depth exam can diagnose bicep tendonitis without the need for imaging. Assessment typically includes an in-depth history, strength, range of motion, special tests, and a full pain assessment.
If there is any concern about a potential tear or another injury at the shoulder, imaging may be used. An x-ray can rule out any potential bony injuries like fractures or arthritis. Alternatively, an MRI is a better option for assessing the overall tissue quality of the shoulder muscles and tendons.
Treatment for bicep tendonitis varies with severity. It is always best to start conservatively with options like rest, pain medication, an exercise program, massage, and modalities to promote healing. If you are comfortable, a lot of these can be initiated at home. Otherwise, professional guidance from your physician or physical therapist can help expedite the recovery process. Lastly, more invasive options like injections and even surgery can be utilized as needed.
Recovery time also depends on the severity of the injury and whether conservative or invasive treatment was needed. Tendonitis injuries typically take more time for recovery than a more acute injury because the symptoms come on slowly with years of overuse. For conservative treatment, you can expect to recover within 6-12 weeks. For surgical recovery, expect 12+ weeks to full recovery.
Now that you have a general understanding of bicep tendonitis, you should know what your next step is in managing your symptoms. With the right education, diagnosis, and recovery program in place, you can get back on track with normal life in less time.
Sources:SHOP BICEP TENDONITIS PRODUCTS
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