Profysio–Your arm pain could be biceps tendonitis


The biceps tendon connects the biceps muscle in the upper arm to the elbow. The tendon acts like a tough connective tissue. The inflammation of this tendon is bicep tendinitis. Physical therapy can help reduce pain and regain mobility.


Some of the causes of biceps tendinitis include:

  • A fall that injures the shoulder
  • Excessive weight lifting
  • Overuse from recreational and sports-related activities
  • A sudden twisting motion of the shoulder


  • Pain at the front of the shoulder joint that extends down the arm i.e. the biceps muscle
  • Weakness in the shoulder
  • Decreased range of motion of the shoulder joint
  • A visible change in the shape and appearance of the front of the arm

Physical examination may be sufficient to diagnose biceps tendonitis. However, other imaging may be helpful to rule out other rotator cuff pathology. Conservative treatment involves rest, ice and progressive physical therapy. Medical treatment involves the use of over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin. In extreme cases, surgery may be required. An orthopedic surgeon can relieve swelling by opening the lining around the tendon and removing the inflamed tissue. Physical therapy plays a significant role in post-surgical recovery.

Prevention tips

If you are engaged in ongoing, repetitive arm activity at work or home, make sure to rest periodically and massage the shoulder, arm and elbow, and stretch the muscles surrounding the shoulder and elbow. If ignored, the condition can become painful and disabling.

Your doctor of physical therapy will treat your shoulder with a combination of manual therapy and therapeutic exercise to restore normal motion, promote tissue healing, improve strength and restore your prior level of function. Another cutting edge treatment called EPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology) may expedite the healing process and is offered at ProFysio. If you or someone you know has symptoms of biceps tendinitis or any health issue that limits strength and movement, we can certainly help. Call us today or simply visit our website ( to schedule your free video consultation. Our video consultation system is compliant with privacy laws and is compatible with most smartphones, tablets and computers. Dr. Leonard J. Somarriba is a doctor of physical therapy and co-owner of ProFysio Physical Therapy in Aberdeen.