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Biceps Tendinitis

Biceps tendinitis is an inflammatory condition affecting the tendon that attaches the biceps muscle to the bones in the shoulder. This condition is typically a result of wear and tear from repetitive overhead actions or aging. It’s common among athletes engaged in throwing or lifting sports, but can also affect individuals performing regular overhead activities.

Causes and Risk Factors

The primary cause of biceps tendinitis is the overuse of the shoulder joint, leading to inflammation and irritation of the biceps tendon. Risk factors include activities that require repetitive motion, such as baseball, tennis, swimming, or certain types of manual labor. Age-related changes in the tendon can also increase the risk, as tendons lose their elasticity and are more prone to injury in older adults.


Symptoms of biceps tendinitis include a dull, achy pain at the front of the shoulder, which may spread down the upper arm. The pain typically worsens with overhead activities or lifting. Other symptoms can include tenderness and a feeling of warmth around the shoulder, and stiffness or limited range of motion.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis is typically made based on a physical examination and patient history. Imaging tests like MRI or ultrasound may be used to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions. Treatment usually starts with conservative measures such as rest, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling. Physical therapy can be very effective, focusing on strengthening and stretching exercises to reduce stress on the tendon. In more severe cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery might be necessary.


Preventing biceps tendinitis involves regular stretching and strengthening exercises, proper technique in sports and activities, and avoiding repetitive overhead movements.

Biceps tendinitis, while painful, is often successfully treated with conservative measures. Early treatment and modifying activities are key to a quick and effective recovery, allowing individuals to return to their normal activities with reduced risk of recurrence.