Biceps tendinitis refers to the injury and inflammation of the shoulder’s bicep tendons which attach to the shoulder and travel the length of the upper arm to just below the elbow. While the tendon is injured, the biceps tendon may also be more prone to rupture, leading to weakness of the elbow and forearm if not repaired.

This type of tendinitis is often caused by overuse, tendon impingement, instability of the shoulder joint, or trauma. It is most common in individuals between 40 and 60 years of age, especially those who do overhead work or heavy lifting, but also occurs in younger people from overuse during sports activities, such as baseball, swimming, tennis, gymnastics, weightlifting, and some contact sports.

Commonly reported symptoms include pain in the front part of the shoulder that occasionally radiates down the arm, pain when flexing the shoulder or cocking the arm to throw, inability to fully lift the arm or sleep comfortably, and clicking sounds during shoulder movements.

A shoulder specialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group will diagnose your condition based on your medical history, your symptoms, and a clinical examination of your shoulder, forearm and elbow. An MRI or ultrasound may be recommended to confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment for biceps tendinitis and rupture of the tendon include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections and physical therapy. Surgical repair of a ruptured tendon may be recommended for young or athletic patients or for individuals who require maximum shoulder strength.