What is the functional anatomy of the biceps relevant to bicipital tendonitis?

Updated: Nov 21, 2018
  • Author: Britt A Durham, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Answer

As its name implies, the biceps has 2 proximal heads with a common distal insertion onto the radius. The long head of the biceps merges with the short head of the biceps to form the body of the biceps brachii muscle. This muscle is a powerful supinator and flexor of the forearm.

The long head biceps tendon lies in the bicipital groove of the humerus between the greater and lesser tuberosities and angles 90° inward at the upper end of the groove, crossing the humeral head to insert at the upper edge of the glenoid labrum and supraglenoid tubercle. The long head of the biceps tendon helps to stabilize the humeral head, especially during abduction and external rotation.

See the image below.

Biceps muscle and tendons. Biceps muscle and tendons.

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