estuary fact sheets




Bicipital Tendonopathy

Your Injury

Bicipital Tendonopathy is a painful condition involving irritation to the bicipital tendon.

bicipital tendonopathy

Inflammation of the tendon around the long head of the biceps muscle. It is often caused by degeneration of the tendon from continued intensive athletic sports such as contact sports, swimming, gymnastics and martial arts. It can also result from the normal ageing process.

Primary impingement syndrome is considered the most common cause of bicipital tendonopathy.

Signs & Symptoms

May include:

  • A deep, throbbing ache in the anterior shoulder.
  • Repetitive overhead movement of the arm may initiate or exacerbate the symptoms.

Conventional Treatment

Conservative management of biceps tendinitis consists of rest, ice, oral analgesics, physical therapy, or corticosteroid injections into the biceps tendon sheath.

Surgery may be considered if conservative measures fail after three months, or if there is severe damage to the biceps tendon.

  • Rest the affected limb until inflammation has subsided and movement is manageable.
  • Ice the area of inflammation with a covered icepack for 20 minutes at a time to ease inflammation.
  • Modify activities that aggravate symptoms further (e.g. lifting / reaching overhead).
  • Oral pain relief is often recommended by GPs, such as paracetamol (with or without codeine), or a non steroidal anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen.
  • Individuals may be referred for physiotherapy to optimise shoulder joint function and stabilise surrounding muscles through targeted exercises.
  • Corticosterioid injections  may be offered if other pain relief options, and physiotherapy, have not shown improvement in symptoms.
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