Biceps Tendonitis

By Tim Wall MS/ATC

Biceps Anatomy

Biceps tendonitis is caused by tendon that becomes irritated and inflamed is called bicep tendonitis. Bicep muscles, and tendons play a major role in the function of your shoulder.  The bicep’s muscle has two muscle bellies and two distinct attachments or tendons. The bicep muscle plays such a major role in the shoulder joint, it can become overworked and inflamed.  To learn more about the anatomy of the shoulder, go to this Shoulder Anatomy Video. 

Image of biceps anatomy.

Biceps anatomy


What Causes Bicep Tendonitis?

Normal wear and tear over time can cause sudden swelling and tendonitis. Most cases of Bicep tendonitis are by caused by overuse and repetitive motions from work activities or certain sports. Sports that can increase the risk of bicep tendonitis include:

  • Tennis
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Swimming


What are Treatments for Bicep Tendonitis


JOI Rehab image of the anterior shoulder muscles and anatomy with labels for supraspinatus, long head of Biceps, subscapularis and subacromial bursae

Shoulder muscles and Long Head of the Biceps

The first step to recovery involves taking a break from the activities that initiated the shoulder pain.

  • Ice 20 minutes at a time throughout the day.
  • Taking Anti-inflammatories helps decrease the swelling and irritation in the tendon.
  • Stretches and posture exercise to decrease the strain on the rotator cuff tendons.
  • Physical Therapy can help identify flexibility, strength, and postural deficits.

If you don’t improve with conservative treatment, injections of corticosteroids can be used to decrease inflammation. In rare cases, surgery may be needed for debridement in tendons with chronic tendonitis that have not responded to conservative treatment.


How Long Does Biceps Tendonitis Take to Heal?

The quick answer, it usually takes 6-8 weeks to heal. It is imperative to rest, stretch, and go to physical therapy long enough for a healthy recovery. It is recommended that you slowly return to activities and sports after you are healed. If overuse continues, it possible to develop a biceps tear. Read this article from JOI Rehab on a Torn Biceps.

Bicep Muscle

Bicep Curl With Weight


Does Physical Therapy Help Biceps Tendonitis?

Yes, physical therapy can improve shoulder strength, decrease pain and increase the range of motion. The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute offers physical therapy at 12 convenient locations across Northeast Florida. Physical therapy is a conservative approach to treating disease, injury, or deformity. Our therapists utilize the latest technologies and techniques in exercise, manual therapy, and education to provide superior preventative and conservative treatment.  To schedule for physical therapy at JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

If you want to learn more about shoulder tendonitis, go to Shoulder Tendonitis, 5 Best Rotator Cuff Exercises, Types of Shoulder Surgery, Rotator Cuff Repair, and Rotator Cuff Tears.

JOI and JOI Rehab

JOI Physicians continue to offer online new patient appointments. This is another option to make it more convenient to make new patient appointments with less phone hold times. Follow the link below to select your JOI MD and schedule online.

You can still call 904-JOI-2000 to make new patient JOI Physician Appointments if that is your preference.

To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

By: Tim Wall, MS, ATC

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