Biceps Tendonitis and Subluxation

What is Biceps Tendonitis?

Bicipital tendonitis is an inflammation of one or more of the biceps tendon, which connect the biceps to the shoulder. It usually affects the upper tendon. Biceps tendonitis is often accompanied by other condition, including such as rotator cuff tears, labral tears, shoulder impingement, and biceps subluxation.

What is Biceps Subluxation?

Biceps subluxation occurs when the long head of the biceps tendon is repeatedly dislocated from the bicipital ridge (a groove at the front of the shoulder which leads to the joint), resulting in chronic instability in the upper biceps. Biceps tendonitis is often caused by biceps subluxation.

What are the Symptoms of Biceps Tendonitis and Subluxation?

The most common symptom of bicipital tendonitis and subluxation are pain at the front of the shoulder, which may become more severe when lifting objects overhead.

A subluxing biceps might also cause a clicking sensation in the front of the shoulder.

Other symptoms include:

  • A sense of shoulder weakness or tenderness
  • An ache radiating along the upper arm
  • A popping or snapping sound
What are the Treatment Options for Biceps Tendonitis and Subluxation?

Treatments for bicipital tendonitis and subluxation are generally conservative, and include:

  • Avoiding activities that might exacerbate the condition.
  • Icing the affected tendon several times a day.
  • Reducing pain and swelling with anti-inflammatories or corticosteroid injections.
  • Physiotherapy, concentrating on strengthening exercises designed to rebuild the biceps and increase its range of motion.

Conservative treatments for biceps tendonitis and/or subluxation usually provides significant relief from the worst symptoms within 2-3 weeks. Complete recovery generally follows within 2-3 months.

If conservative measures fail, or where a rotator cuff tear is present, bicipital tendonitis and/or subluxation can also be treated with arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Patients generally need to wear a sling for several weeks, can resume daily activities such as writing and typing immediately. Physiotherapy begins within a week or two of surgery. With regular rest and a rigorous physical therapy program, a complete recovery is expected within four to six months.



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