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Tendonitis of the arm


Tendonitis of the arm is due to inflammation of the tendons in this part of the body. It can therefore affect the tendons of the brachial or coraco-brachial biceps, or those of the brachial triceps. It most commonly involves the biceps muscle, located at the front of the arm, and the pain is thus felt in the upper arm near the shoulder. The causes of this type of tendonitis are: repetitive motion injury or intense movements that put a strain on the tendon. This type of tendonitis is common among manual workers and elderly people whose tendons have suffered microscopic tears.


The symptoms of tendonitis of the arm are:
  • severe pain during certain movements;
  • skin that is red, hot and swollen where the inflammation is located;
  • pain upon palpation of the area where the tendon is located.


The diagnosis of tendonitis of the arm is made through a physical examination during which clinical signs are noted by the physician. Pain described by the patient during movement is present, but the mobilization of arms made by the examiner to perform the same movement is painless. In rare cases, an X-ray is performed, but the latter doesn't allow for the visualization of the tendons, unless they are calcified. In case of persistent pain despite rest or an impossibility to move the arm, tendon rupture is suspected and an ultrasound can then be performed.


The treatment of tendonitis of the arm requires rest for the tendon in question. The application of cold to the inflammation combined with the use anti-inflammatory drugs will provide great relief. Local corticosteroid injections also relieve pain transiently in chronic tendonitis. Physical therapy is also a good solution, or a splint immobilization with reeducation.


It is possible to prevent arm tendonitis by warming up properly, long enough and gradually before exerting significant stress tendons. It is also necessary to stretch after exercise and to try and avoid repetitive motion.

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