Brief Outline of Bicipital Tendinitis

Bicipital tendinitis results from irritation and inflammation to the biceps brachii tendon, which has lies on the front of the shoulder and allows bending of the elbow and supination of the forearm. Overuse can lead to inflammation and is a common affliction in golfers, weight lifters, rowers, and those engaged in throwing sports.

Anatomy and physiology

Tendons are tough, resilient bands of fibrous tissue, connecting muscle to the bone. Irritation of the tendon due to overuse occurs as it passes back and forth in the intertubercular (bicipital) groove of the humerus, and can cause inflammation of the tendons (known as tendinitis) as well as the tendon sheaths or paratenons. The musculo-tendinous junction of the biceps brachii is highly susceptible to injuries brought on by overuse, particularly following repetitive lifting activities.

Cause of Bicipital Tendinitis

Poor technique, particularly in weight lifting. Sudden increase in duration or intensify of training. Impingement syndrome.

Signs and symptoms

Pain over the biceiptal groove where the tendon is passively stretched, and during resisted supination and elbow flexion. Pain and tenderness along the tendon length. Stiffmess following exercise.

Complications if left unattended

Bicipital tendinitis, left without care and treatment, generally worsens as the biceps brachii tendon becomes increasingly irritated and inflamed. Movement and the ability to perform athletically without pain will be furthered hampered. Exercising without adequate healing rehabilitation can lead to tearing of the tendon and tendon degeneration over time.


Rehabilitation and prevention

The condition is self-limiting given rest and minimal medical attention. Following full recovery, exercises directed at improving flexibility, propioception, and strength may be undertaken. Thorough warming-up and stretching exercises and a steady athletic regimen that avoids sudden, unprepared increases in activity can help avoid this injury, as can attention to proper sports technique.

Long-term prognosis

A full return to athletic activity may generally be expected,  given adequate time for tendon recovery and reduction of inflammation. However, the injury is frequently recurrent. Surgery is generally not required. Injections of anti-inflammatories are sometimes used to reduce pain and inflammation.

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