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Long Head of Biceps Tendinopathy

Long Head of Biceps (LHB) Tendinopathy


The long head of biceps tendon is a common cause of shoulder pain. The biceps muscle has two heads- the ‘short’ head attaches to a bony prominence called the coracoid process and the ‘long’ head attaches to a sleeve of tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint. The long head of biceps tendon runs up through quite a narrow tunnel and due to this can be vulnerable to irritation.

What Causes Long Head of Biceps Tendinopathy?


Usually long head of biceps pain is caused by altered mechanics at the shoulder placing increased strain through this tissue. This increased strain may be small but over time it gradually irritates the tendon until it becomes painful. This kind of pain usually is felt at the front of the shoulder and can be tender to touch in this area. It will be painful to lift your arm so can often be mistaken or associated with shoulder impingement.

Treatment


The best way to resolve this pain is to solve the root of the problem, which is most commonly due to a weak rotator cuff. Your physiotherapist may prescribe a program of shoulder strengthening and stretching. Depending on your individual needs, a gradual loading program for the long head of biceps may be incorporated also. A recent article published by a Dutch researcher has highlighted a structured and effective way to do this.
Tendons have a poor blood supply and it takes time for them to heal so even when the antagonising factors have been changed, it will take time for the pain to settle.

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