Long Head of Biceps Tendinopathy
The long head of biceps tendinopathy refers to a condition in which the tendon that attaches the long head of the biceps muscle to the shoulder becomes inflamed or damaged. This can result in pain and weakness in the shoulder joint.
Causes of Long Head of Biceps Tendinopathy
The long head of biceps tendinopathy can be caused by a number of factors, including:
Overuse: Repetitive overhead activities or throwing motions can put stress on the long head of biceps tendon and cause it to become inflamed.
Shoulder impingement: When the space between the shoulder blade and the ball of the upper arm bone narrows, the long head of biceps tendon can become pinched and irritated.
Rotator cuff tears: A tear in the rotator cuff can alter the mechanics of the shoulder joint and cause the long head of biceps tendon to become irritated or inflamed.
Aging: As we age, the long head of biceps tendon can become frayed or damaged due to wear and tear.
Trauma: A direct blow to the shoulder or a fall onto an outstretched arm can cause damage to the long head of biceps tendon.
Signs and Symptoms of Long Head of Biceps Tendinopathy
The signs and symptoms of long head of biceps tendinopathy may include:
- Pain in the front of the shoulder: This pain may be sharp and sudden or dull and achy, and it may be worse with overhead activities or reaching.
- Weakness in the shoulder: The affected arm may feel weak, and it may be difficult to perform certain activities, such as lifting objects or reaching overhead.
- Clicking or popping sensation: The long head of biceps tendon may make a clicking or popping sound when moving the arm.
- Tenderness in the bicipital groove: This is the area in the front of the shoulder where the long head of biceps tendon passes through.
- Loss of range of motion: The range of motion of the shoulder joint may be limited, particularly with overhead activities.
- Cramping or spasms in the biceps muscle: This may be felt in the front of the upper arm and can be a sign of a more severe long head of biceps tendinopathy.
Treatment for Long Head of Biceps Tendinopathy
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for long head of biceps tendinopathy, and may include the following:
Rest and modification of activities: Avoiding overhead activities or other movements that aggravate the condition can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Ice and heat therapy: Applying ice or heat to the affected area can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Stretching and strengthening exercises: Specific exercises can be prescribed to improve the range of motion and strength of the shoulder joint.
Manual therapy: Hands-on techniques, such as massage, can be used to improve blood flow and promote healing.
Ultrasound and electrical stimulation: These modalities can be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
Joint mobilization: Passive movements of the shoulder joint can be used to help reduce pain and restore mobility.
Postural correction: Improving posture and alignment can help to reduce stress on the shoulder joint and prevent further injury.
The specific treatment plan will depend on the severity of the condition and the individual needs of the patient. A physiotherapist can work with the patient to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific symptoms and goals.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about long head of biceps tendinopathy please call us at 03 9836 1126.
Cools, A. M., & Johansson, F. R. (2015). Long head of biceps tendinopathy: a review of diagnosis and management. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 45(11), 1010-1022. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2015.5841