Bicep Tendonitis


Often referred to as bicipital tendonitis, bicep tendonitis affects the area where the bicep muscle meets the front of the shoulder. It usually develops as part of another health issue, such as shoulder or rotator cuff tendonitis. Bicep tendonitis is a very common condition with athletes and is often ignored in its early stages and develops into a serious condition.


Causes of Bicep Tendonitis

Injuries to bicep tendons are often caused by a repetitive overhead activity. Aging, stress and general overuse can cause the tendon to deteriorate over time, even if there is no inflammation present.



If symptoms are present, they can include:

  • Pain when the arm is bent or overhead.
  • Localized tenderness as the tendon passes over the groove in the upper arm bone.
  • Occasionally, there is a snapping sound or sensation in the shoulder area.


During a physical examination at the FHCH Sports Medicine Program, the doctor will assess the shoulder area, looking for signs of tenderness or instability or a limited range of motion. If necessary, the doctor will recommend the use of x-rays or MRI to look inside the joint for other conditions or injuries to the tendon that may be the source of pain.



The first step in treatment is rest. The patient will be asked to temporarily switch to another sport or recreational pursuit that doesn't require overhead activity. Applications of ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce the inflammation. Additionally, your physician may suggest that you do stretching and progressive strengthening exercises to build muscle endurance and restore your range of motion. Overhead activity can be resumed gradually as strength and range of motion return.

Learn about Bicep Tendonitis surgery.

If you have questions about bicep tendonitis or want to make an appointment, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators and they'll be happy to assist you.