Bicep tendonitis is a condition that affects the area where the bicep muscle meets the front of the shoulder. Bicep tendonitis, often referred to as bicipital tendonitis, rarely occurs on its own. It usually develops as a result of shoulder or rotator cuff tendonitis. Unfortunately, bicep tendonitis is a very common condition amoungst athletes and often is ignored in its early stages and develops into a serious condition.
About the Bicep Tendon
The bicep muscle is situated in the front of the upper arm and is responsible for extanding your arm outwards. It also helps accelerate the arm in overhead movement like throwing or playing racket sports. The bicep tendon is a long cord-like structure that connects the bicep muscle to the shoulder at the top and to the radius at the bottom. Bicep tendonitis mostly occurs in the top tendon (connecting to the shoulder), but in some cases may affect the bottom tendon. See the image below for a bicep tendon diagram:
Bicep Tendonitis Causes
There are four main causes of bicep tendonitis. (1) Repetition and overuse (2) Calcifications into the tendon (3) Multidirectional instability (4) Direct trauma. In many cases bicep tendonitis is developed as a result of a shoulder condition. In these cases extra strain is placed on the bicep tendon causing inflammation.
Bicep Tendonitis Symptoms
There are several significant warning signs to look out for if you think you may be developing bicep tendonitis. Some of the symptoms include the following:
Pain in the front of the shoulder when you move your arm and shoulder. This pain will especially be felt when you extend your arm out in front of you or raise your arm above your shoulder.
You feel pain when the front of the shoulder is touched.
The are may be red and swollen. In some cases you may feel a burning sensation around the area in the front of the shoulder.
The pain is often worse at night or first thing in the morning.
You may feel or hear a snapping sound when you move the arm or shoulder in certain directions.
When bicep tendonitis first develops, the pain will only be slight and localized to the front of the shoulder. The pain may only be during and after exercise. As bicep tendonits develops further the pain may become more severe, spread over a larger area and be felt throughout the day.