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Distal Bicep Tendonitis – Overview

January 21, 2021
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"Biceps tendonitis of the elbow or distal bicep tendonitis is inflammation involving a tendon in the front of the elbow. It's common in those who lift weights or perform heavy manual labor, especially middle-aged males. A tendon is a tough, flexible structure made mostly out of collagen that allows muscles to act on our bones and joints. Tendonitis is an overuse or strain condition, which causes inflammation within and around the tendon. In the case of the bicep tendon, it can become inflamed in either the shoulder or in the elbow. This video will focus on the condition in the elbow. Bicep tendonitis of the shoulder is called proximal bicep tendonitis, and will be covered in another video. Distal bicep tendonitis symptoms typically include pain and swelling in the anterior or front part of the elbow. The pain usually is worse with lifting and with resistant supination, which is the action of rotating the forearm to a palm up position such as in a bicep curl. Distal bicep tendonitis symptoms typically include pain and swelling in the anterior or front part of the elbow. The pain usually is worse with lifting and with resistant supination which is the action of rotating the forearm to a palm up position, such as in a bicep curl. A doctor or a therapist can be consulted in any case of suspected bicep tendonitis, and a treatment plan can be initiated. Other causes of elbow pain, such as tendon rupture, elbow instability, epicondylitis, or arthritis can also be ruled out. In most cases, bicep tendonitis is due to either acute or repetitive chronic injury, age and activity involvement or labor are known to be risk factors. The condition is also more common in males than in females. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Neproxin, ibuprofen, Meloxicam, or diclofenac may be used in treating bicep tendonitis. They are often prescribed for a two to three week period to be taken every day so that they can over time work on gradually improving the inflammation. These medications can often be used for a few weeks to help combat the longstanding inflammation that is present. Though caution should be taken, especially in cases where the patient has a history of gastric ulcers or kidney disease. As NSAID medications can affect these systems. Patients who are on a blood thinner also must be careful using NSAID medications. Anybody with any potential interactions or problems should ask their doctor prior to taking them. Physical therapy is also commonly used. Ice and rest can be helpful as well. Distal bicep tendonitis can be treated at home often successfully, though patients may benefit from the expertise of a physical therapist to demonstrate certain stretches or exercises that can be helpful. Injections are sometimes used for treatment. Thankfully surgery is not commonly needed for the treatment of distal bicep tendonitis, since most cases resolve without it. Surgery is reserved for cases that fail to respond to non-surgical management or in cases where there's a tear of the tendon, whether a complete or incomplete tear in certain situations. In surgery, the bicep tendon is detached if still attached and then any diseased tissue is removed. And the tendon is reattached with sutures and or anchors into the bone. Surgery has a high success rate, but as with any procedure, there is a risk of complications."

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