Bicep tendonitis is a very common injury within Strongman competitors and if not treated correctly it can lead to further injury such as complete bicep tendon ruptures and rotator cuff tears. Unfortunately, strongman training programmes puts the individual at almost 2 times more likely to sustain and injury than when performing traditional exercises. However you can’t stop training just because of that!
So what can we do to help reduce this injury risk?
Bicep tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon of the biceps tendon. Tendonitis is caused through degeneration of the tendon due to overuse or irritation.
For the strongman there are two locations were this inflammation usually occurs – the proximal and distal bicep tendon. Those suffering from bicep tendonitis will feel a deep, dull throbbing pain at the front of the shoulder or within the elbow/forearm.
Acute Injury Care
Managing the pain can be through resting the joint, using ice, compression and taking anti-inflammatories.
Bicep tendinitis can usually be managed without surgery, however for some injections of a local anaesthetic and steroid may be used such as corticosteroid. Speak to your GP if this is the route you wish to go down.
Ultimately, manual and exercise therapy treatments are the way to achieve lasting pain-free results.
- Massage therapy by professional Graduate Sports Therapist of Physiotherapist can help reduce pain and improve range of motion.
- Self-myofascial release through the use of a wooden spoon handle or small ball can also help to reduce the symptoms.
- Tape – a temporary, but perhaps helpful method of support during competition. The use of Kinesio Tape is one possibility, however whether the tape remains in one place when carrying atlas stones or hussafells is questionable.
- Rehabilitation –
- Strengthening the biceps and rotator cuff should be performed once the shoulder or forearm is pain free. Exercises should be performed to build joint stability and stabilisation of the scapular. Weaknesses in these areas can lead to tendonitis.
- The wrist flexors are often overworked and the extensors underworked. Therefore it is important to ensure even balance, thus extensor exercises should be added to reduce this imbalance and increase grip strength. A very easy exercise to perform throughout the day is the rubber band extension. Wrap a strong elastic band around the fingers. Open your hands, hold for a couple of seconds and slowly close. Repeat this and see the results!
- Modify training and workload with coach – perhaps over training is what caused your injury. Training hard, putting everything in every session isn’t the smart way to train. We know better. Meet your coach, talk about your strengths, weaknesses, and your next meet and build a proper programme. Clever planning can enable you to reach higher performance goals and reduce the risk of injury.
The prevention and injury management techniques do not differ greatly from one another.
A comprehensive strengthening programme, combined with good technique can help to prevent injury. Programmes should follow a periodised approach to ensure adequate loading and rest. Seek a good coach to do this.
Additionally, supplementary training at vulnerable areas can reduce injury risk. Take a look at the above methods which you can begin to introduce.
Last, but not least, an appropriate warm up should be followed to ensure individuals bodies are of a suitable temperature prior to training or competition.
Have you experienced Bicep Tendonitis? How did you treat it? Tell us below in the comments !
Written by Ellie (Performance Sports Therapy)
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