Your biceps muscle is located on the front of your arm, between your shoulder and elbow. It’s a bi-articular muscle, because it helps control both shoulder and elbow movement. Your biceps muscles are essential in lifting your forearms. If one of them hurts, it can quickly begin to limit your activity level and your life.
Biceps pain is a common complaint among athletes of all ages, but certain sports can increase your risk of suffering a biceps injury. Tennis, baseball, softball, and swimming are a few of the sports that frequently lead to biceps overuse and tendon injuries.
When you’re bothered by pain in your biceps muscle, make an appointment with our team at Upper Extremity Specialists, which is a member of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group. Kristopher Downing, MD, and Daniel Brereton, DO, offer the best in sports medicine, and our team is here to diagnose and treat the causes of your biceps pain.
Understanding the anatomy of the biceps
Muscles are connected to bones with tendons, which are strong, fibrous bands of tissue. Each of your biceps muscles has three tendons. Two tendons connect your biceps to your shoulder, and a third tendon connects it to your elbow.
Tendons are meant to flex as you move, but overuse in sports or daily life can cause inflammation, pain, and injury. Biceps pain is often the result of a tendon injury, such as tendonitis or a tendon tear.
Signs of biceps tendonitis
Biceps tendonitis is painful inflammation in the tendons of your upper arm. Tendonitis can develop in any of the three tendons that connect your biceps to your arm. Overuse is the chief cause of tendonitis, and symptoms often include:
- Pain when moving your shoulder or elbow
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle tenderness
- Pain when rotating your palm
Our team can usually diagnose tendonitis with a physical exam. The doctors may touch your biceps muscle and joints, as well as discuss the kinds of sports and activities you regularly participate in.
If you’re diagnosed with biceps tendonitis, Dr. Downing and Dr. Brereton often recommend at-home care and rest. Taking a break from sports can encourage healing, and applying ice for 20 minutes at a time can reduce inflammation and pain.
Signs of a biceps tendon tear
Biceps tendon tears are generally more severe than tendonitis. Tears often occur with accidents, such as falling on your arm, and pain is often more intense and longer-lasting than tendonitis pain.
Your biceps pain could indicate a tendon tear if you experience:
- A popping sensation when the injury occurs
- Warmth in your arm
- Severe pain in your arm
- Pain when rotating your palm
- Arm weakness
Symptoms can vary depending on the severity of your tendon injury and the tendon that’s affected. You could suffer a partial tear that doesn’t completely separate the muscle from the bone, or you could suffer a full tendon tear.
Dr. Downing and Dr. Brereton diagnose tendon tears with physical exams and medical imaging. If you suffer a biceps tendon tear, surgery is necessary to repair the damage.
Don’t ignore pain in your biceps. At Upper Extremity Specialists, we can diagnose and treat your pain, whether it’s caused by a tendon injury or another condition. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.