Conditions & Treatments - Biceps Strain / Tendonitis


Are you experiencing pain at the front of your shoulder or in your biceps? Do you experience an increase in pain when you bring your arm up in front of you over your shoulder? Does performing activities such as throwing or working overhead make your symptoms worse? If this is your situation than you may be experiencing a condition called a biceps strain which may lead to tendonitis. This is an injury which is commonly seen by a physical therapist and is often associated with overuse and poor mechanics with various activities such as throwing.

What is a biceps strain/tendonitis?


The biceps brachii muscle is comprised of the biceps long and short head muscles. These muscles attach to the front of the shoulder and elbow via tendons (tendons connect muscle to bone). The main function of the biceps is to bend your elbow (flexion) and bring your forearm out (supinate). It also assists with bringing your arm straight up in front of you into shoulder flexion. Repetitive or a sudden application of abnormal forces to the biceps tendon can result in an acute condition where the biceps tendon(s) become and remain inflamed for a period of time resulting in a biceps strain or tendonitis. Pain and swelling at the anterior aspect of the shoulder is often associated with both of these conditions. (image from 20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body published in 1918)

Biceps Strain/Tendonitis Treatment Options for a PT

· Ice Packs

· Rest and maintain ROM and strength

· ROM/Stretching (see videos 48a and 49a for shoulder)

· Strengthening (see video 51 for shoulder and video 58a for elbow)

· Joint Mobilization

· Ultrasound/Phonophoresis/Iontophoresis


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Last revised: January 17, 2008
by Chai Rasavong, MPT


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Please review our terms and conditions carefully before utilization of the Site. The information on this Site is for informational purposes only and should in no way replace a conventional visit to an actual live physical therapist or other healthcare professional. It is recommended that you seek professional and medical advise from your physical therapist or physician prior to any form of self treatment.