Biceps tendinosis is a degenerative condition of the two tendons that connect the biceps muscles, the muscles at the front of the upper arms, to the shoulder bones. One of these, the long head biceps tendon, runs from the muscle to the labrum, the layer of cartilage that deepens and cushions the socket to help stabilize the shoulder joint. The condition is usually the result of an athletic injury or due to the natural aging process and can be very painful.
Biceps tendinosis is typically found in patients who have also experienced biceps tendinitis, which occurs when the tendon around the biceps muscle is inflamed. Biceps tendinosis is typically characterized by deep aches and pain within the shoulder, which may worsen when the arm is lifted over the head.
Biceps tendinosis is diagnosed by evaluating the patient's medical history, the severity of the symptoms and the overall range of motion in the shoulder. Conservative treatments are usually effective for this condition. These may include ice packs to reduce swelling and pain, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections and avoiding activities that require overhead motions. If symptoms persist after 3 months of conservative therapies, a biceps tenodesis procedure to relieve pain and restore full function to the arm may be necessary. This surgery is most often performed as part of a more extensive shoulder operation, such as the repair of a rotator cuff.