Bicep Tendonitis

janky

New User
Hi. I've search the forum and found a few old threads on this subject but starting a new one in case anyone else is going through this injury now or recently.

I played a match April 6 and got home and my shoulder was sore and the next day it was insanely sore. Went to the ortho and was diagnosed with bicep tendonitis. After reading horror stories of folks trying to play through this injury I decided to stop playing the last month and a half and I started PT a few weeks ago. It was going really well and I even got clearance to hit ground strokes but still no serves. But then, this week for what seemed like no reason the pain just came back really strong a few days ago. I rested and didn't do any PT exercises yesterday and took some Aleve (two yesterday) and went back to my PT routine this morning. I'm seeing the PT about twice a week too so I will have to tell her what happened but I'm curious what others have gone through w/ this injury:

1. How long did it take for you to get back to playing 100%?

2. Did you have similar periods where recovery looked like it was going really well and you were doing everything your PT told you to do and you still had a setback or two?

3. I'm icing as much as I can (20 minutes on) and doing all my PT exercises but curious if there's anything else you have found that has helped you recovery faster?

Thanks for any tips/advice/info. It's painful sitting out the entire 18+ USTA league season :(
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Both upper (long head and short head) tendons?

Has there been a thread on the upper biceps tendons previously? I recall a thread or two on the distal biceps tendon but not the upper tendons. Very minor issue with the distal tendon myself. Short rest & the problem went away.

Not using heat at all?
 

janky

New User
Upper tendon where it connects to shoulder. Both doctor and PT have only said ice. No heat suggested.

Also, has anyone done self massage? I watched a video on that and tried it yesterday and it really helped. Painful to massage the first 10 seconds but then feels great. Gonna ask PT why she isn’t using massage on Tuesday.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Upper tendon where it connects to shoulder. Both doctor and PT have only said ice. No heat suggested.

Also, has anyone done self massage? I watched a video on that and tried it yesterday and it really helped. Painful to massage the first 10 seconds but then feels great. Gonna ask PT why she isn’t using massage on Tuesday.
There are actually two tendons that attach to the shoulder = long head and short head tendons.

Friction massage might help. You might ask your PT if ultrasound treatment or stim+ice might be beneficial. @RogueFLIP, any sage professional advice on this?

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/bicep-tendonitis-exercises
 

janky

New User
Ah right. Sorry. Long head. PT did ultra sound and electro + ice twice. Nothing since. Gotta talk to her!
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Ah right. Sorry. Long head. PT did ultra sound and electro + ice twice. Nothing since. Gotta talk to her!
I think that ultrasound has something of a warming effect whereas ice+stim might be more anti-inflammatory. Dont know if either have therapeutic value beyond pain relief.
 
Based on my TE googling, tendinosis take 6-12 months to heal.
Not sure about T-itis

Dumbest thing is to play thru it.
Best thing I ever did was to stop and take 4-5 months off.

You took 1.5 months off.
Smart, but now you know it was not enough.

If it were me, I would take 3 months off.
Focus on fitness and finding the silver lining.
 

RogueFLIP

Professional
@RogueFLIP

Any benefit for this or for MFR therapy, in general, with HyperVolt or percussion massage therapy guns? Are they worth the $200 to $500 price tag?
One tenet of John Barnes' MFR is to look globally, so while you might feel pain in the biceps region, there might be soft tissue restrictions elsewhere in the shld, neck, etc that can contribute to pressure in pain sensitive areas.
Posture deviations such as Forward Head Posture, or an internally rotated humerus due to a tight pec can cause somewhat of an small impingement of the area.....

Some people swear by those HyperVolt guns.....I can get just as good if not better results with a soft ball (not softball!) using MFR principles than those things. BUT if psychologically it makes you feel better because you bought the most $$ tool out there, then by all means it can work.
 

RogueFLIP

Professional
2. Did you have similar periods where recovery looked like it was going really well and you were doing everything your PT told you to do and you still had a setback or two?
Just remember that healing isnt an event, it's a journey. That journey will have ups and downs, plateaus and setbacks. Hang in there.


3. I'm icing as much as I can (20 minutes on) and doing all my PT exercises but curious if there's anything else you have found that has helped you recovery faster?
Always an advocate of soft tissue work. Helps to break up knots and restrictions of the tissue. Doesn't always have to be rigorous or hard or hurt.

Always look at posture. It's a good indication of restrictions of the body. As I explained in my post above, postural deviations can contribute to compression/impingement issues in the area.

I'm not saying that strengthening exercises are wrong, quite the contrary, just sometimes when you try to strengthen a dysfunction you wind up strengthening the dysfunction, if that makes sense.

Hopefully your PT can offer some suggestions to help you.

Good luck.
 

janky

New User
Agree on taking time off. Heard horror stories of people trying to play through Bicep Tendonitis and rupturing. I had Achilles tendinitis 6+ years ago and took off almost 6 months. Tennis is for life so 6 months is a blip.

PT strengthening is going well and I have a lot of appointments lined up plus twice a day on my own exercises.

I’m just looking to hear from others that have had BT too.

Based on my TE googling, tendinosis take 6-12 months to heal.
Not sure about T-itis

Dumbest thing is to play thru it.
Best thing I ever did was to stop and take 4-5 months off.

You took 1.5 months off.
Smart, but now you know it was not enough.

If it were me, I would take 3 months off.
Focus on fitness and finding the silver lining.
 

janky

New User
This is really good feedback. PT instructed me to get a lacrosse ball as my pec muscles were very tight and knotted. Posture is definitely off like you mentioned. Both ortho and PT recognized this immediately. Everything is super tight around the neck and shoulders. Using the lacrosse ball on my pecs but also on my traps and all over my shoulder has been amazing.

Lots of the focus with my exercises has been focusing on my traps to ensure they are getting worked to fix my posture. PT has upped the exercises and the strength on my stretchy bands and I'm having a lot of progress so I"m happy. Can't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet but that's ok.

Just remember that healing isnt an event, it's a journey. That journey will have ups and downs, plateaus and setbacks. Hang in there.




Always an advocate of soft tissue work. Helps to break up knots and restrictions of the tissue. Doesn't always have to be rigorous or hard or hurt.

Always look at posture. It's a good indication of restrictions of the body. As I explained in my post above, postural deviations can contribute to compression/impingement issues in the area.

I'm not saying that strengthening exercises are wrong, quite the contrary, just sometimes when you try to strengthen a dysfunction you wind up strengthening the dysfunction, if that makes sense.

Hopefully your PT can offer some suggestions to help you.

Good luck.
 

janky

New User
OK. At two months so far and physical therapy is going well but still not 100% pain free. I can feel tightness on some of the recent exercises that the PT introduced especially wall angels and the commensurate exercise done on the foam roller. So, not out of the woods yet. PT wants me to hit once a week without serves nor overheads but I couldn't get on the court last week so will try this week. 30 minutes only of hitting.
 

janky

New User
Updating this thread in case anyone wants to know the journey...

5 months later and I'm finally 100% back on the court. PT allowed me to hit for a few months now but serving was something I had to introduce slowly. I've been serving for 6 weeks now but the PT really started me slow. First week it was 10 serves. Second week it was 25 serves and so forth. Even then, I had some setbacks. It would be sore and I'd just rest a week and then try again. I never wanted to rush it and declined playing the combo USTA league season a few weeks ago (after I sat out the 18+ USTA league) this summer. I'm going to wait until January to get back into playing USTA leagues and keep practicing with friends while keeping up the exercise routine.

The #1 things that worked for me:

1. Do all the exercises and never skip them. PT had me doing so many and I'd often have to spend 45 minutes, twice a day doing them. I'm now down to 3-4 times a week for 45 minutes but using a lot of weights instead of bands. Man, there were so many exercises. My wife got used to seeing me do exercises while watching TV w/ her.

2. Ice, ice and lots of ice. Every time I worked out (i.e. doing my PT exercises) or if it felt sore I would ice. Eventually I bought an icing pack off Amazon that has a strap so you can just throw it in the freezer and take it out when you need it. Even in the last month, every time I play tennis I ice the shoulder.

3. Stretch Stretch Stretch. Some of the exercises included stretches but I would do the stretches whenever I could (at work, etc)

4. I recently bought a posture correction brace from Amazon too that is really helping. The major reason I have the tendonitis is bad posture through 20+ years of being on the laptop at work so the posture brace really helps. I wear it in the car or at home and at work (if I can wear a jacket so folks won't see it).

5. Lacrosse ball has been heaven. I use that thing on my neck, pec and lower traps. @RogueFLIP you were right.

Hope this helps other folks out there. Keep at it, you will get back on the court....will update again in some time...
 
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janky

New User
It was almost 100% posture for me. You were right.

One tenet of John Barnes' MFR is to look globally, so while you might feel pain in the biceps region, there might be soft tissue restrictions elsewhere in the shld, neck, etc that can contribute to pressure in pain sensitive areas.
Posture deviations such as Forward Head Posture, or an internally rotated humerus due to a tight pec can cause somewhat of an small impingement of the area.....

Some people swear by those HyperVolt guns.....I can get just as good if not better results with a soft ball (not softball!) using MFR principles than those things. BUT if psychologically it makes you feel better because you bought the most $$ tool out there, then by all means it can work.
 

janky

New User
Absolutely. Impingement. All my muscles were pulling forward from bad posture and impinging on the bicep tendon. I was shocked when I came down with the injury in April. Took me awhile to really digest the injury stems from bad posture mainly from the laptop.

Wait, bad posture can lead to bicep issues?
 

megamind

Hall of Fame
Updating this thread in case anyone wants to know the journey...

5 months later and I'm finally 100% back on the court. PT allowed me to hit for a few months now but serving was something I had to introduce slowly. I've been serving for 6 weeks now but the PT really started me slow. First week it was 10 serves. Second week it was 25 serves and so forth. Even then, I had some setbacks. It would be sore and I'd just rest a week and then try again. I never wanted to rush it and declined playing the combo USTA league season a few weeks ago (after I sat out the 18+ USTA league) this summer. I'm going to wait until January to get back into playing USTA leagues and keep practicing with friends while keeping up the exercise routine.

The #1 things that worked for me:

1. Do all the exercises and never skip them. PT had me doing so many and I'd often have to spend 45 minutes, twice a day doing them. I'm now down to 3-4 times a week for 45 minutes but using a lot of weights instead of bands. Man, there were so many exercises. My wife got used to seeing me do exercises while watching TV w/ her.

2. Ice, ice and lots of ice. Every time I worked out (i.e. doing my PT exercises) or if it felt sore I would ice. Eventually I bought an icing pack off Amazon that has a strap so you can just throw it in the freezer and take it out when you need it. Even in the last month, every time I play tennis I ice the shoulder.

3. Stretch Stretch Stretch. Some of the exercises included stretches but I would do the stretches whenever I could (at work, etc)

4. I recently bought a posture correction brace from Amazon too that is really helping. The major reason I have the tendonitis is bad posture through 20+ years of being on the laptop at work so the posture brace really helps. I wear it in the car or at home and at work (if I can wear a jacket so folks won't see it).

5. Lacrosse ball has been heaven. I use that thing on my neck, pec and lower traps. @RogueFLIP you were right.

Hope this helps other folks out there. Keep at it, you will get back on the court....will update again in some time...

I have this too

but i been slackign

i need to get my **** together tbh

mind messaging me the link to the posture correction brace
 

RogueFLIP

Professional
Wait, bad posture can lead to bicep issues?
If you have a hammer, everything in the world looks like a nail. Rogue tends to see spine allignement and posture as factors in nearly everything.
As the good doctor points out, poor posture may not lead to biceps issues, but can be a FACTOR in how they develop.

It's not about being right, it's about bringing people's awareness to other factors that can be causing pain and other issues.

On that note, Ollinger forgot to mention my other even more important "hammer"; soft tissue restrictions, IE fascial restrictions. That's an even more important aspect to identify and address. Honestly if you look back at my posts, I rarely if ever use the phrase "spine alignment".

Soft tissue restrictions and posture....those are my "hammers".
 

Rosstour

Hall of Fame
I'm pretty sure that this is what happened to me. I played a crazy match and then this happened. I didn't play for a long time after that, as in years.

Part of that was being busy and not having people to play with. But the injury really kept me sidelined for a long time. Just rest it and ice it.

The good news is that it hasn't bothered me since and I'm playing at a much higher level than I was back then. I was like 31 when it happened, 38 now.
 
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