Biceps tendonitis primarily affects people who carry out repetitive overhead movements. Those impacted include tennis and baseball players, golfers, and swimmers. You may suffer biceps tendonitis in the shoulder or elbow.
Doing biceps tendonitis exercises can help with recovery from the illness. The exercises help patients heal faster. Before you start on any exercise regimen, consult a professional. Your doctor may recommend a brace, which can help you avoid further injury.
Read on to learn more about biceps tendonitis and the exercises that can help with the condition.
Biceps Tendonitis Explained
Understanding what biceps tendonitis entails is essential to beating it. Here is a breakdown of what it is, the symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Tendons refer to the tough bands of tissue that join muscles to bones. There are two tendons that connect your biceps muscle to your shoulder bones. There is a third tendon that attaches your elbow to the radius bone.
These tendons are tough but can sustain injury from overuse. When that happens, the tendons become sore and painful. The soreness and pain occur due to micro tears in the tendon, known as tendonitis. You can experience biceps tendonitis in the shoulder or elbow. However, it’s uncommon to have it at both places at once.
Bicep femoris tendonitis, like bicep tendonitis, is the inflammation of your hamstring tendons. The inflammation occurs where the hamstring tendons join the back of the knee.
There are a variety of symptoms of biceps tendonitis. A common one is feeling pain in the front of the shoulder. The symptom may worsen when bending the affected arm or lifting it overhead. For bicep femoris tendonitis, the onset of pain is gradual.
A patient may also feel a pain or an ache that travels down the bone of the upper arm. Sometimes, there may be a snapping sound or feeling in the shoulder region.
In many cases, the biceps tendon gets damaged by a lifetime of doing everyday tasks. As someone gets older, wear and tear results in the gradual weakening of the tendons. Overuse may worsen the tendons’ weakening.
Overuse typically occurs because of making the same shoulder movements repeatedly. Many jobs entail repetitive motions and can cause overuse damage. Sports that require players to make repeated overhead movements increase the risk of bicep tendonitis. Examples include playing tennis and baseball, and swimming. Overuse also contributes to bicep femoris tendonitis.
Repeated overhead motions can also contribute to other shoulder issues that may accompany biceps tendonitis. Examples are osteoarthritis and rotator cuff tears.
Biceps tendonitis can be a painful condition. Luckily, the problem can get resolved if you obtain proper treatment early on. The initial treatment of biceps tendonitis involves simple non-surgical interventions. These treatment methods prove effective for most people.
The first thing patients must do is steer clear of pain-inducing activities. So, a doctor may advise you to rest. They might also recommend avoiding heavy lifting and flexing your arm at the elbow or over the head. You can also use ice to ease any swelling and pain.
Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help with any pain and swelling. Physical therapy can also help your healing journey. It involves stretches and exercises that help restore your shoulder strength and normal movement.
Exercises That Help With Biceps Tendonitis
Exercise is a simple yet effective method of treating many conditions. An example is biceps tendonitis, including bicep femoris tendonitis.
Exercise can be beneficial if you suffer biceps tendonitis in the elbow or shoulder. If you feel pain while doing the exercise, stop immediately and rest. Here are five of the best biceps tendonitis exercises.
Biceps curls are essential in maintaining elbow flexibility and biceps strength. To do the exercise, start by standing straight with your injured arm hanging at the side. Keep your palms facing outward.
Then, gently bend the affected arm at your elbow and bring your palm to your shoulder. Once there, hold the position for 30 seconds before releasing it. Do two sets of biceps curls each day. Each set should contain two repetitions of the exercise.
Over time, the exercise may start feeling easier. If that happens, you can use a weight during the exercise. Refrain from over-exerting yourself as you do biceps curls. Remember, the goal is to recover, not build biceps muscle.
Shoulder Internal Rotation
You will need a towel, resistance band, or something in the same category to do internal rotations. Take, for instance, a towel. Grab one end of the towel with the hand that’s not injured, and hold it behind your head.
Take your injured arm and reach behind your back. Grab the other end of the towel at your lower back level. Use your non-injured arm at the top to carefully lift the injured one at the bottom. Lift it such that it reaches up towards your scapula.
Go on lifting until you feel a gentle stretch, just before the onset of any pain. Hold that position for 30 seconds. Afterward, return to a neutral position, rest, and repeat the exercise. Do two sets of the shoulder internal rotation daily. Each set has two repetitions.
Shoulder External Rotation
You'll need something elastic to perform an external shoulder rotation. An example is an exercise band. Take the band with both your hands. Keep your elbows at your side at 90 degrees, and hold the band out at waist level. Ensure your palms are facing down.
Once you’re in position, pull the band apart gently. Your elbows should stay by your side, bent at 90 degrees. In this position, your arms should be parallel to the ground. Keep pulling the band until there’s a light stretch in your arms.
After feeling the stretch, slowly go back to the original position. Repeat the movement ten times for every set. Aim for three sets.
As one of the biceps tendonitis exercises, the biceps stretch offers many benefits. When you stretch your biceps, you keep the condition from worsening.
Start by standing about six inches in front of a wall to do a biceps stretch. Lift your injured arm to the side, a little below shoulder level.
Move the affected arm slightly forward such that your thumb touches the wall. Keep your palms facing downward. Maintain that position as you turn in the opposite direction of your arm. Turn until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold your position for 15 seconds.
Do three biceps stretch every day. The exercise is great since you can control its intensity to ensure you don’t over-exert yourself.
Forearm twists are vital in maintaining your arm’s flexibility. The biceps tendonitis exercise helps your tendon glide effortlessly along your biceps muscle. Start the exercise with your injured arm by your side. Bend your elbow at a right angle and have your palm face up. Stay like that for five seconds.
Afterward, turn your palm such that it’s facing downward. Again, hold the position for five seconds. Do three sets of the exercise daily, each set having ten repetitions.
Take Steps to Help Your Recovery Journey
Biceps tendonitis exercises can greatly help your recovery journey. However, repetitive movements and exertion only exacerbate biceps tendonitis. So, take it easy even as you do biceps curls, forearm twists, biceps stretches, and shoulder rotations. Take a break and rest in case of pain or discomfort during the movements.