Proximal Biceps Conditions2016-10-12T12:39:58-04:00

Conditions of the Proximal Biceps


The biceps is the muscle in the front part of your upper arm that you flex to bend and twist your arm. This muscle helps you twist your forearm outward. Strong, fibrous connective tissues, called tendons, attach the biceps muscle to the elbow and shoulder and afford your arm a wide range of movement.

The tendon that connects the lower part of the biceps to the elbow is the distal tendon. The tendons that connect the top of the biceps muscle to the shoulder are the long head and the short head of the biceps. The long head of the biceps travels in the biceps groove and into the shoulder joint. It is in the region of the groove to where the biceps attaches on the superior labrum typical injury is seen.

Injury can range from inflammation, fraying, partial tears to involvement with a SLAP tear.

Symptoms of Proximal Tendonitis and Tears

Proximal biceps tendonitis generally starts out gradually and becomes more painful the more a person uses that arm. Sometimes an injury or small tear in the tendon can create problems immediately.

Common symptoms of proximal biceps tendonitis include:

  • Pain in the front or side of the shoulder and the upper arm.
  • Pain in the arm at night, especially when sleeping on the affected side.
  • Pain with arm movement (particularly when raised above your head, or when reaching behind).
  • Shoulder weakness and stiffness.
  • Decreased range of motion in the arm.
  • Pain with twisting of the forearm (supination).

Treatment of Proximal Tendonitis and Tears

The good news about proximal tendonitis is that it may heal on its own without surgical intervention. The guidelines for treatment and care of a proximal tendon injury or tendonitis are:

  • Rest and avoiding using the arm for lifting and reaching.
  • Applying ice several times a day to help control inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Cortisone injection.

Surgical Treatment

  • Lower demand patients can be treated with surgical release of the long head of the biceps arthroscopically, which provides predictable pain relief.
  • Long head of biceps tendonitis – Arthroscopic detachment of the long head of the biceps in the joint with repair of the tendon outside the shoulder join to humerus. This provides pain relief and excellent restoration of function.

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