Bicep Tendonitis, What is it, Causes, and Solutions

Bicep Tendonitis, What is it, Causes, and Solutions

Bicep tendonitis occurs when the biceps muscle in your upper arm becomes inflamed due to overuse of the biceps. It happens most often in people who use their biceps a lot for things like lifting heavy items or using a repetitive motion with their arms. The condition can also be brought on by something as simple as sleeping with your arm wrapped around the pillow too tightly.

Bicipital Tendinitis can last from days to weeks if left untreated but luckily there are some easy ways to help cure bicipital tendinitis without taking prescription medications or going through painful treatments.

What is Bicep Tendonitis?

Bicep Tendonitis is an inflamed muscle in the upper arm, and it can be an extremely painful condition that affects the biceps tendon, a thick band of tissue that connects biceps muscles to the bones in your shoulder and elbow. In addition to pain, there may also be some swelling around the biceps tendon.

Bicipital Tendonitis is most often caused by repetitive use of the biceps or from lifting heavy objects. You may be at a greater risk of this condition if your form is incorrect or if you exercise them to exhaustion.

Older adults may be at a greater risk of this condition since muscles and their connective tissues become less elastic with age. If they exercise regularly leading to muscle tears, then the muscle fibers may start to break down over time.

Bicep tendonitis symptoms

Symptoms of bicep tendonitis include:

  • Swelling,
  • Bicep pain
  • Bicep tightness or tenderness
  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • Weakness
  • Aching

Who is at a higher risk of bicep tendonitis?

People who may be at a greater risk of this condition include people who perform sports that require them to use their biceps often. This can include sports like American football or rugby, gymnastics, weight lifting, and rock climbing.

Those who do not stretch or exercise regularly may have tight muscles and connective tissue already making them susceptible to muscle inflammation when they initially start to exercise. In addition, regular exercisers who do not warm-up and stretch before exercise may also be at a higher risk since their muscles will be cold and inelastic until they warm up.

Most people neglect to warm up and stretch before a workout, and they grab the heavyweight immediately. When the muscles are cold, they do not perform very well with heavy weights until they are warmed up. So, lifting heavy dumbbells or barbells without warming up significantly increases the risk of injuries like bicep tendonitis.

Furthermore, people who perform labor work can also be at a greater risk since their job mostly consists of lifting heavy objects. If a proper form is not used, these kinds of injuries are likely to be very common.

How to prevent bicep tendonitis?

To prevent bicep tendonitis, you must perform the following steps:

  • Stretch before exercise
  • Warm-up before exercise
  • Use proper form when performing bicep exercises and any other exercises
  • Lift light weights and increase weights gradually
  • Do bicep exercises that do not require you to fully extend your biceps such as bicep curls, bicep kickbacks, or bicep preacher curls.

How to treat bicep tendonitis?

There are several ways of treating bicipital tendonitis:

Cold compress

Cold compress is a home remedy for not only biceps tendonitis but also other inflammatory conditions like migraines and headaches. This technique reduces blood flow in the area where the swelling occurs. As a result, it reduces pain, swelling, and inflammation.

For this to work well, simply wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the affected area. Try to do this for 15-20 minutes, three times a day.

Resting the muscle

Allowing your muscles to rest will give them time to heal naturally. If you perform exercises whilst still suffering from the condition, then you are likely to cause further inflammation and pain. Aside from that, you may also make the bicep tendonitis worst and delay its recovery.

By delaying its recovery, you can also struggle to get back to the gym and into your routine which can affect your health and fitness goals.

Immobilizing biceps

Immobilizing biceps muscles is another treatment option for bicipital tendinitis which requires you to wear a sling or cast on your bicep muscle.

In this case, the sling prevents your bicep from moving while the cast completely immobilizes the muscle.

This is a less favorable technique as it can affect the flow of oxygen and blood into your muscle and affect your muscle size, especially if it is applied for lengthy periods of time.

Taking prescription medications

Taking prescription drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help reduce pain and swelling associated with bicipital tendonitis. However, most cases of this condition can be managed without the use of medications.

Making use of bicep tendonitis exercises and stretches

Bicep tendonitis exercises are an important treatment that can be done to strengthen biceps muscles and reduce biceps pain. You can do bicep tendonitis exercises anywhere at home or at the gym with some simple equipment available easily in the market. Some bicep tendonitis exercises include:

  • Flexing and extending the elbow
  • Bicep curls (with no weights)
  • Biceps stretch where you stand against a wall with your palms facing down, raise your arms straight up, and touch the wall with your thumb

For more exercises, check out this detailed guide for knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, wrist, and elbow exercises to rehab and prevent injuries. Strengthening exercises for each listed joint are included in the eBook.

However, be sure to speak to your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to start exercising for effective recovery from this condition. Sometimes, it is best to let the muscle rest and recover before placing any strain on it.

Biceps contraction

When you feel like your bicep has recovered to an extent where placing a little bit of strain doesn't hurt, you can start contracting it.

To do this, you can squeeze your hands together or do bicep curls as well as lifting your arms above your head.

Again, take caution and listen to your body. If at any point you don't feel like you are ready to apply any strain to the arm, then don't. Consult your doctor for further advice.


The bicep tendon is the connection between your biceps muscle and the elbow. It is often injured as a result of bicep muscle extension or bicep contraction. However, bicep tendonitis can be treated with rest, cold compress, bicep exercises, and immobilization. If biceps problems persist for a long time, it can lead to more serious fractures and degenerative changes in bone.

Be sure to check out the 'Joint Health 101' guide to check out getting strategies to get rid of your aches & pains while bullet proofing your joints so they become stronger & more durable.

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