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Management Of Biceps Tendon Pain At The Elbow

Management Of Biceps Tendon Pain At The Elbow
Management Of Biceps Tendon Pain At The Elbow

Diagnosis Of Biceps Tendon Pain At The Elbow

Generally when dealing with biceps tendon pain diagnosis can be made after a thorough history and physical examination of the area by your physiotherapist. When the diagnosis is in doubt or help with assessing the severity is required then the use of ultrasound imaging or an MRI can be beneficial.

Prognosis Of Biceps Tendon Pain At The Elbow

The majority of patients with biceps tendon pain at the elbow will heal given time and conservative treatment such as physiotherapy. Often returning to full function within weeks after the original onset of pain. Occasionally recovery can take longer and similar to other stubborn tendon complaints a return to full function may take significantly longer. Early assessment and treatment can play a vital role in accelerating recovery and aiding the return to full function with biceps tendon pain within weeks rather than months.

Treatment For Biceps Tendon Pain At The Elbow

For the majority of individuals suffering with biceps tendon pain at the elbow the first line of treatment is simply rest and modification of activities that cause aggravation. Rest is crucial to allow the body to begin the healing process and avoid any further stress or damage to the tissue.
The success of treatment is generally dictated by patient compliance to rest and avoidance of aggravating activities until they are free of symptoms and adherence to the physiotherapy guided treatment approaches.
Your physiotherapist will most likely guide you through a graduated strengthening / loading program of the biceps. Eccentric loading exercises have a well documented history for use in the rehabilitation of Achilles and patella tendinopathies and are used along with isometric loading exercises in the management of many other tendinopathies including distal biceps tendinosis.
Ignoring symptoms, pushing through and adopting a ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude may increase the likelihood of developing a chronic condition. In the chronic situation healing significantly slows increasing recovery times and likelihood of any future recurrence.

Other Treatment Options For Biceps Tendinopathy

If standard conservative treatment options don’t resolve the complaint then other approaches may be considered, including the use of:

  • Pharmaceutical intervention
  • Shockwave therapy (radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy (rESWT))
  • Platelet rich plasma (PRP)
  • Corticosteroid into the biceps tendon sheath

If all this fails to satisfactorily alleviate symptoms then in some cases arthroscopic surgical assessment and treatment of the attachment of the biceps tendon to the bone may help to identify/manage any tearing of the tendon.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Management Of Biceps Tendon Pain At The Elbow should consult his or her general practitioner, sports medicine specialist, orthopedic surgeon, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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