Biceps Tendinopathy/Tear

Biceps Tendinopathy/Tear

Causes

Biceps tendinopathy or a biceps tendon tear can occur due to several factors, often related to repetitive stress, overuse, or degenerative changes in the tendon. Here are the primary causes:

1. Repetitive Overuse: Activities that involve repetitive overhead motions or repetitive use of the arm can strain the biceps tendon over time. This is common in athletes who participate in sports such as baseball (pitchers), tennis, swimming, and weightlifting.

2. Age-Related Changes: As individuals age, tendons naturally undergo degenerative changes, becoming less elastic and more prone to injury. This can predispose older adults to biceps tendinopathy or tears.

3. Poor Biomechanics: Incorrect technique or biomechanics during sports or physical activities can place excessive stress on the biceps tendon. Improper lifting techniques, especially heavy lifting without proper form, can also contribute to tendon damage.

4. Direct Trauma: A sudden forceful impact or injury to the shoulder or elbow can lead to a biceps tendon tear. This can occur during falls, accidents, or contact sports.

5. Shoulder Instability: Instability in the shoulder joint, such as from shoulder dislocations or chronic shoulder instability, can place abnormal stress on the biceps tendon. This may increase the risk of tendinopathy or tears.

6. Degenerative Changes: Conditions like osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis affecting the shoulder joint can lead to degeneration of the biceps tendon, making it more susceptible to injury.

7. Previous Injuries: A history of shoulder or elbow injuries, including prior biceps tendonitis or tendinopathy, can weaken the tendon and increase the risk of further injury.

8. Overloading: Training too intensively without adequate rest or recovery periods can lead to overloading of the biceps tendon, increasing the risk of tendinopathy or tears.

Symptoms

- Pain: Pain is typically the most prominent symptom. The location of the pain can vary:
- Biceps Tendonitis: Pain is often felt at the front of the shoulder and may radiate down the arm to the elbow. It can be sharp or dull and may worsen with overhead activities or lifting.
- Biceps Tendon Tear: Pain may be sudden and severe, especially if the tear is acute. There may be a snapping or popping sensation at the time of injury. Chronic tears can cause more persistent, deep ache in the shoulder or front of the arm.

- Tenderness: Palpation over the biceps tendon, which runs from the front of the shoulder through the upper arm to attach to the forearm bones, may elicit tenderness.

- Swelling: Inflammation of the tendon can lead to localized swelling around the front of the shoulder or upper arm.

- Weakness: Weakness in the affected arm, particularly with activities that involve bending the elbow against resistance or lifting objects overhead.

- Decreased Range of Motion: Difficulty with shoulder movement, especially overhead movements or reaching behind the back.

- Popping Sensation: Some individuals may experience a popping or clicking sensation in the shoulder, especially with certain movements.

- Cramping: Cramping or spasms in the biceps muscle or surrounding muscles can occur, especially after activity.

- Difficulty Sleeping: Pain and discomfort may interfere with sleep, particularly when lying on the affected side or with certain arm positions.

Diagnosis

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Treatments

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