Bicep Tendonitis Shoulder Pain

If you are experiencing pain or weakness towards the front of your shoulder, you may be struggling with a repetitive motion injury called bicep tendonitis (sometimes spelled biceps tendinitis). This condition can make the simplest tasks involving overhead motion excruciating, diminishing your overall quality of life. At the Hand Center of Louisiana, our highly trained orthopaedic surgeons can help determine the best treatment to offer you relief from shoulder pain.


What Is Bicep Tendonitis?

Bicep tendonitis is irritation or inflammation of the tendons that connect your bicep muscles to the bones in the shoulder. When bicep tendonitis first develops, the long head of the bicep tendon becomes red and swollen. As it progresses, the tendon sheath, or covering, can thicken. Then, inflammation can also cause the tendon itself to thicken or grow larger.

Sometimes, bicep tendonitis leads to a tendon tear, or a deformity, known as a “Popeye” bulge, where the muscle in your upper arms bunches up to form a large, painful ball.

What Causes Bicep Tendonitis?

In many cases, bicep tendonitis is caused by a lifetime of ordinary, repeated overhead activities. Everyday wear and tear can slowly weaken the tendons and cause pain as you age.

The degeneration that leads to bicep tendonitis tends to be worse among those whose jobs or routine activities involve overuse or repeating the same shoulder motions over and over again. Sports that put people at risk for bicep tendonitis include:

  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Baseball
  • Softball

Signs and Symptoms of Bicep Tendonitis

Shoulder pain can indicate a number of orthopaedic injuries, so it helps to be aware of the specific symptoms associated with bicep tendonitis. These include:

  • Pain, tenderness or weakness in the front of the shoulder.
  • Pain that worsens when you move your shoulder or elbow.
  • Pain when performing any overhead lifting or activity.
  • Aches or pains that move down the upper arm bone.
  • Occasional snapping sounds or sensations in the shoulder.

if you've experienced symptoms talk to a physician

Biceps Tendonitis Diagnosis

A full examination of your arm and shoulder is needed to help your doctor diagnose bicep tendonitis. Our team will take the time to ask questions, such as the types of sports you play or what kind of motion your job involves.

A simple touch of the bicep tendons and observing which arm motions cause you pain is often enough to help your doctor diagnose bicep tendonitis. However, we may recommend further tests at our New Orleans facility, such as X-ray or MRI, to confirm your diagnosis.

Bicep Tendonitis Shoulder Pain Treatment

Bicep tendon pain is typically first treated using non-invasive interventions. Our New Orleans-based surgeons may recommend treatment such as:

  • Rest or avoiding activities or sports that worsen the pain.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Steroid injections into the tendon for pain relief.
  • Physical therapy and specialized exercises to restore range of motion and strengthen your shoulder.

If your bicep tendonitis symptoms do not improve, surgery may be needed to repair the biceps tendon or remove the painful part of the biceps. Performed at a nearby New Orleans area hospital, surgical intervention may be able to resolve your symptoms and restore normal functionality.

learn more about our surgical and non-surgical treatment options

Relieve Your Shoulder Pain

If you suspect you have bicep tendonitis, then it’s time to meet with one of the highly experienced doctors at Hand Center of Louisiana. Our team is proud to bring more than 40 years of experience to the Gulf South region, which we use to provide patients with a fully integrated experience.

From your evaluation to diagnostics to treatment, you will experience an exceptional continuum of bicep tendonitis care all under one roof. Schedule your appointment today.