Bicep/Tricep Tendonitis: causes, Symptoms and Treatment


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Tendons can become irritated for a variety of reasons, leaving the affected muscles in pain with reduced mobility. Bicep/Tricep tendonitis is often seen in athletes and professions that require repetitive arm movements. In this video, Tom Danisiewicz, DC explains how Airrosti treats tendonitis pain, helping athletes and other active individuals recover faster.


The biceps brachii muscle is a large muscle that originates at the scapula and attaches to the radius of the forearm. Because of this connection to the shoulder and elbow, the biceps muscle is used to flex the shoulder and elbow. This muscle is often used to push, pull, and lift objects overhead.

While the biceps muscle controls the front of the upper arm, the triceps brachii muscle extends along the back up the upper arm. This muscle originates at the humerus and scapula in the back of the shoulder and connects to the ulna of the forearm. Its primary function is to straighten the arm by extending the elbow joint.

These muscles are connected to the shoulder and arm through several tendons, thick bands of connective tissues that act like ropes holding the muscle to bone. Bicep tendonitis is a condition that occurs when one or both tendons of the biceps brachii become irritated. Likewise, tricep tendonitis can also occur when one or more tendons of the triceps brachii become irritated. This irritation can cause the affected muscles to become swollen and tender to the touch.

Man grabbing his bicep in pain

WHAT are the CAUSES & symptoms of BICEP TENDONITIS?

Bicep tendonitis may develop gradually from the effects of wear and tear, or it can happen suddenly from a direct injury. The most common cause of bicep tendonitis is overuse from certain types of work or sports activities that require repeated elbow flexion. The tendon may also become irritated in response to other problems in the shoulder, such as rotator cuff tears, impingement, or instability.

If you are suffering from bicep tendonitis, you may experience pain in the front of your shoulder and upper arm.

Common symptoms of bicep tendonitis include:

  • Increased bicep pain when raising the arm overhead
  • Tenderness and weakness in the biceps muscle
  • Pain or difficulty pulling
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Swelling and tenderness in the affected arm
  • Snapping sound or sensation felt in the front of the shoulder

WHAT are the CAUSES & symptoms of TRICEP TENDONITIS?

Tricep tendonitis often occurs when repetitive or prolonged activities begin to strain the triceps tendon. Some activities that may lead to irritation of the triceps tendon include repetitive pushing movements or straightening the elbow against resistance, such as performing push-ups, dips, or lifting heavy weights. It can also occur suddenly from a heavy impact or blow to the arm.

One common symptom of tricep tendonitis is pain in the triceps area, around the back of the upper arm or shoulder. Pain often worsens upon movement of the arm.

Other symptoms of tricep tendonitis may include:

  • Tenderness around the elbow or back of the upper arm
  • Difficulty straightening or moving the elbow from a flexed position
  • Bulging or swelling in the back of the upper arm
  • A popping noise or sensation at the time of injury
Man in physical therapy


Average recovery times for biceps tendonitis or triceps tendonitis depend on the severity of the injury and the level of care shown. For mild irritation, many patients may see full recovery in several days. In some cases, it can take weeks to months to show noticeable improvement.

Regardless of the severity, it is important to take appropriate measures to get your injuries diagnosed and treated to ensure swift recovery. Even mild cases of tendonitis can become chronic or severe if ignored and left untreated.


With appropriate treatment, most cases of bicep tendonitis and tricep tendonitis can resolve after a period of rest. Resting ensures that further irritation or stress on your tendons is avoided. To supplement this, ice the affected area on and off for 20 minutes, several times through the day, to help reduce any inflammation.

Additionally, you may be prescribed OTC pain medications that can help reduce swelling and pain symptoms. For more moderate or severe cases, your doctor may recommend injections or surgery followed by physical therapy or occupational therapy. While bicep tendonitis treatment is very similar to tricep tendonitis treatment, consult with your doctor about the best course of action for your injury.

Woman doing bicep curls with weights


Airrosti aims to help patients find complete injury resolution without the use of pain medication, injections, or surgery. Our providers are dedicated to resolving your injury in as few as three visits, based on patient-reported outcomes. In many cases, you can even continue your normal level of activity for the duration of your treatment. We also share tools and resources you can use to boost your recovery and help prevent injuries.

If pain or an injury is holding you back, schedule an appointment with Airrosti and get back to living life pain free.

Reviewed by Casey Crisp, Doctor of Chiropractic

Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.

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