Biceps tendinitis is inflammation of the long head of the biceps tendon. In its early stages, the tendon becomes red and swollen. As tendinitis develops, the tendon sheath (covering) can thicken. The tendon itself often thickens or grows larger.
Biceps tendinitis usually occurs along with other shoulder problems. In most cases, there is also damage to the rotator cuff tendon. Other problems that often accompany biceps tendinitis include:
- Arthritis of the shoulder joint
- Tears in the glenoid labrum
- Chronic shoulder instability (dislocation)
- Shoulder impingement
- Other diseases that cause inflammation of the shoulder joint lining
Biceps tendinitis is typically first treated with simple methods.
- Rest. The first step toward recovery is to avoid activities that cause pain.
- Ice. Apply cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, to keep swelling down. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen reduce pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy. Specific stretching and strengthening exercises can help restore range of motion and strengthen your shoulder.
- Steroid injections into the tendon sheath
If nonoperative management fails, patients may elect to have sugery.
The diseased biceps tendon is released and reattached in the bicipital groove using an anchor. This relieves the pressure and inflamation around the tendon. This procedure can be done arthroscopically using a camera in a minimally invasive fashion.
After biceps tenodesis patients will participate in physical therapy. You will be in a sling for 4-6 weeks. There will be a specific protocol to work on regaining biceps strength and function. Most patients begin strength training at about 3 months post operatively.