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Sports Injuries - Orthopaedics SA

Biceps tendinopathy

Biceps tendinopathy is pain and tenderness in the biceps tendon caused by inflammation or swelling of the muscle.

The tendon is structurally weaker and at higher risk of rupture.

Tendinopathy is accompanied by a SLAP lesion in up to 95% of cases.

Biceps tendinopathy is usually a wear-and-tear injury.

Repetitive overhead motions – like reaching upwards or bowling overarm in sports – can increase the risk of overuse damage.

Symptoms of biceps tendinopathy include:

·      Pain in the front of the shoulder

·      Pain that increases at night

·      Pain that increases when reaching overhead

·      Weakness in the arm

Your GP or orthopaedic surgeon will diagnose biceps tendinopathy using a physical exam. This involves asking you to complete a series of movements and assessing which cause pain.

An ultrasound may then be used to identify the damaged tendon and confirm a diagnosis. X-rays and MRI scans are not usually helpful in procuring a biceps tendinopathy diagnosis but may be recommended to rule out other causes of pain.

Rest, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) are first-line treatments for biceps tendinopathy. These can effectively relieve pain and allow the tendon to heal fully in most cases.

Physical therapy can be recommended to strengthen the biceps and promote function. It may also be prescribed following a surgical treatment to aid recovery. Corticosteroid injections may also be employed for pain relief or diagnostic purposes.

Surgical intervention such as biceps tenodesis or biceps tenotomy may be used to relieve pain and restore shoulder function.

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