Biceps tendonitis more likely to affect weight lifters who over do the bicep curls. People who do a lot of writing such as students can also be prone to biceps tendon inflammation. Very simply the tendon of the biceps muscle inserts into the front of the elbow and can become inflamed if it is overused.
This article covers inflammation of the biceps tendon as it inserts into the elbow. See inflammation of the long head of the biceps for biceps tendonitis at the shoulder.
Biceps tendonitis symptoms
- A thickening and redness over the biceps tendon.
- Pain or discomfort when you bend the arm against resistance.
- Pain or discomfort on the front / inside of the elbow when you write.
- Tenderness to touch the tendon which can be felt in the crease of the elbow.
Biceps tendonitis treatment
Self help for biceps tendon inflammation:
- Rest until pain and discomfort has gone. Biceps tendonitis is an over use injury so continuing to use it will either make worse or prevent healing.
- Apply ice or cold therapy which will reduce pain and inflammation. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin as it may burn but use a wet tea towel of commercial cold therapy wrap. Apply every hour for 10 minutes at a time which the injury is acutely painful. Later in the rehabilitation stage, particularly if the injury becomes chronic heat may be more beneficial or alternating hot and cold.
- Use an elbow support or heat retainer. A neoprene elbow support will provide compression to the joint taking some of the strain off the tendon. Also neoprene material retains the body heat increasing blood flow and aiding the healing process.
What can a sports injury specialist do?
- Use electrotherapy such as ultrasound or laser treatment. This will help with pain, reduce inflammation and help mobilize the tissues.
- Prescribe a full rehabilitation program including stretching exercises and later once the inflammation has gone a series of progressive strengthening exercises if required.
- Sports massage may help if the biceps muscle is tight. Cross friction massage may be applied to the tendon itself if more conservative treatment is not effective or the biceps tendonitis has become chronic.