Biceps Tendinitis and Tear

Institutes & Services > TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute

When a shoulder condition like bicep tendinitis or a biceps tear occurs, the pain can be significant. These conditions can prevent you from enjoying the activities you love. TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute has assembled a team of national-renowned surgeons and specialists who offer advanced treatment to get you back to feeling good.

Biceps Tendinitis and Tears

Your bicep is the muscle on the front of your upper arm. These tendons can become inflamed or torn through overuse or injury.

Biceps tendinitis

Biceps tendinitis is painful inflammation of the long tendon. It can develop as you age and is also common in athletes who play sports requiring repetitive overhead activity.

Biceps tears

Biceps tendon tears at the shoulder can result from either overuse or injury. The tear may be partial or complete, with the tendon torn into two pieces. Biceps tendon tears at the elbow result from injury, and only rarely from a medical condition. Biceps tears at the shoulder level are frequently associated with rotator cuff pathology.

Biceps tendinitis and tears causes

Biceps tendinitis and tears are different injuries to the same area that can result from overuse or injury.

Biceps tendinitis causes include:

  • Age—tendons weaken over time
  • Repetitive overhead motion in sports such as baseball, swimming and playing tennis
  • Routine overuse at work

Biceps tear causes include:

  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Falling on your arm
  • Lifting a heavy object

Biceps tendinitis and tears symptoms

Biceps tendinitis symptoms include:

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Swelling

Biceps tear symptoms include:

  • Bruising in the upper arm
  • Sudden sharp pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakness in the shoulder or elbow

Biceps tendinitis and tears treatment

Treatment for biceps tendinitis and tears depends on the type and extent of your injury.

Biceps tendinitis treatments include:

  • Ice to reduce swelling
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery—minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair or remove damaged tissue

Biceps tear treatments include:

  • Ice to reduce swelling
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Physical therapy
  • Tenodesis—surgery to reattach the tendon to the shoulder

Biceps tendinitis and tears risk factors

Your risk for tendinitis or tears depends on your age, physical condition and activities.

Biceps tendinitis risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Playing sports with overhead motion such as baseball, swimming and playing tennis
  • Repetitive overuse at work

Biceps tear risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Falling on your shoulder
  • Lifting a very heavy object

Biceps tendinitis and tears prevention

Although you can’t control your age, you can take steps to help prevent biceps tendinitis and tears. These include:

  • Practice proper lifting techniques at work
  • Warm up properly before playing sports or exercising
  • Take breaks often

Make an appointment

Learn more about biceps tendinitis and tears or make an appointment with a TriHealth orthopedic specialist. Call 513 246 7846.

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