Tendonitis refers to inflammation of a tendon. A tendon is the thick, semi-flexible tissue that connects a muscle to a bone, so bicep tendonitis can occur in either or both of the two bicep tendons at the shoulder (the top of the bicep) or the tendon at the elbow (the bottom of the bicep).
This inflammation is caused by tiny tears in the tendon due to overuse. The good news is that there are various effective treatments for tendonitis, and they work especially well the sooner you implement them.
Let’s talk about the main symptoms and treatments for bicep tendonitis, and where you can go for an evaluation and possible treatment of your arm pain.
Symptoms of Bicep Tendonitis
Tendons have to handle a lot of physical stress during muscle contractions. Repetitive movements or a sudden jolt of activity can cause microtears in the tendon tissue, and these tiny cuts lead to pain. The discomfort can intensify when you move your arm.
Bicep tendonitis can also manifest as shoulder pain – the exact location of which varies based on which of the two bicep tendons in the shoulder is inflamed. They are both considered proximal biceps tendons, whereas the tendon at the elbow is the distal tendon; the tendon on the outside of the shoulder is the long head tendon, and the tendon that’s closer to the chest is the short head tendon.
The most typical cases of bicep tendonitis involve the tendons in your shoulder. The site of the affected tendon can feel tender, swollen, and stiff due to the inflammation. You may experience arm weakness, and you may find it difficult to lift your arm above shoulder level.
Bicep Tendonitis Treatments
Mild cases of bicep tendonitis do not require extensive treatment. Indeed, symptom management, ice therapy, and rest may be sufficient for full healing. However, it is best to consult with a doctor to rule out complications that may warrant medical intervention.
If you have been ignoring your tendonitis and so it has progressed to cause chronic pain in your shoulder or elbow, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. The exercises and stretches your physical therapist will show you are designed to improve blood circulation to the affected tendon, and blood flow helps to accelerate healing.
For quick relief from your symptoms, your doctor might prescribe medication. The physician may also recommend that they give you a corticosteroid injection around the affected tendon to further reduce inflammation. However, corticosteroids cannot be used for long-term therapy due to the risk of weakening the tendon, so this should only be for controlling the pain in the beginning.
If nonsurgical treatments have failed to work, your doctor might recommend surgery. Talk to your orthopedist about the best approach to resolving your tendon inflammation.
Shoulder and Elbow Tendonitis Treatment in San Antonio
Here at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, we offer outstanding orthopedic care for successfully treating tendonitis, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. We strive to utilize noninvasive or minimally invasive treatments (such as injection treatments) as much as possible, but we also provide orthopedic surgery if necessary to achieve optimal results.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (210) 692-7400 or by filling out our online request form now. We look forward to helping you get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy!