Biceps Tendinitis


What is Biceps Tendinitis?

Biceps tendinitis is an irritation or inflammation of the upper biceps tendon. It is usually a result of tendon degeneration from playing sports that require an overhead arm motion (e.g. tennis, volleyball). However, biceps tendinitis is also caused from the normal aging process.

The result of tendon degeneration, or muscle overuse, can be pain or even a complete tear of the bicep’s tendon. In these cases, and in cases of extreme tendinitis, surgery is required in order to repair the muscle and return strength to your shoulder and arm.

Post-op recovery typically lasts 6 months, and includes the wearing of a sling/brace, and physical therapy.

What are the Symptoms of Biceps Tendinitis?

Some additional common symptoms of biceps tendinitis include:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Shoulder weakness
  • Odd appearance due to muscle bunching together after tearing (called a ‘pop-eye’)
  • Pain when twisting forearm

What are the Treatments for Biceps Tendinitis?

What does this surgery entail?

This surgery is a combination arthroscopic and a minimal open surgery.  The first part of the surgery is an arthroscopic scope, your surgeon will work through three tiny incisions using a small camera and small instruments to diagnostically evaluate the shoulder joint and the biceps tendon.  Then the biceps tendon will be debrided and released.  Next, a small incision will be made near the arm pit.  Through this incision the biceps will be anchored to its new attachment located on the humerus (arm bone).

How long will I stay in the hospital?

This surgery is done as ambulatory surgery, meaning you will go home the same day of surgery.

What are the possible risks and complications of surgery?

As with any surgery there is a risk of nerve damage, bleeding, and postoperative infection, however, these are very rare.  Specific risks and complications include but aren’t limited to re-tear, post-op stiffness, and continued soreness.

When can I drive?

You may not drive while taking pain medication or while wearing a sling.

When can I start to run or return to sports?

Running does produce stress on the shoulder joint, and will be detrimental to the healing process.  You can ride a recumbent bike a couple weeks after surgery and after 2 months you can progress to Elliptical machine without arm motions.  You should avoid running for the first 3 months.  Return to sport will be based on your progress with physical therapy and sport of choice. Typically, a 4-6 month period of rehabilitation is required for full function to return. Working hard in physical therapy, and strictly following the exercise program may shorten this process.

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