Tendinopathy is the medical term for an injury to the tendon. Common forms of bicipital tendinopathy include:
- Tendonitis—an inflammation of the tendon
- Tendinosis—small tears in the tendon tissue characterized by no significant signs of inflammation
Bicipital tendinopathy is generally caused by overuse of a muscle-tendon unit. Over time, the strain on the tendon causes structural changes within the tendon itself. For example, shoulder tendons are overused most often with repeated reaching overhead or repeated throwing.
A person with bicipital tendinopathy may experience such symptoms as a dull pain (typically in the shoulder and upper arm) shoulder weakness and stiffness in the affected area.
Pain will typically start off slow, but gradually worsen over time and with use.
For minor cases of bicipital tendinopathy, the individual can use simply remedies such as ice, heat and avoiding certain activities to control the pain. A doctor may also prescribe certain pain medications and/or steroid injections depending on the patient’s situation.
In more severe cases, surgical procedures like arthroscopic surgery may be needed to repair the damaged tendon. In this case, the individual will often have to perform physical therapy techniques to strengthen the weakened muscles around the affected area.