The biceps muscle is found in the front of the upper arm and is attached to the shoulder and lower arm bone by tendons. It helps control lower arm movement and is particularly instrumental in the follow through of forceful throwing movements such as those in football or baseball. When the tendons are overused or overstressed, they become irritated and inflamed. This condition is called Biceps Tendonitis. It is often secondary to rotator cuff instability.
Biceps tendonitis may cause pain along the front of the shoulder during arm and shoulder movement – particularly forward and upward movements. Pain may intensify at night and become increasingly prevalent during daily activity such as lifting or carrying groceries or garbage bags.
Those at Risk
While athletes in throwing sports are often diagnosed with this condition, it can affect any active male or female who repetitively overuses the biceps muscle. A direct trauma or calcification in the tendon may also prompt the condition.
Following patient history, physical examination and pain analysis, radiographic testing will confirm diagnosis.
Biceps tendonitis is generally treated with a conservative nonsurgical program involving anti-inflammatory medication and cold compression. A rehabilitative exercise program designed to strengthen and promote flexibility of the shoulder stabilizers is developed. Depending on the severity of the pain, corticosteroid injections may be indicated in order to reduce the inflammation and pain. And an ongoing rehabilitation program is developed specifically to the patient in order to ensure a safe return to sport with no recurrence.