What Are Shoulder Pain and Bicipital Tendinitis?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

Several years ago I injured my shoulder throwing while playing softball. The diagnosis was bicipital tendinitis. I recently reinjured the shoulder while throwing, and have been experiencing constant acute pain deep in the shoulder joint. The pain happens during external rotation and extension through the joint and across the shoulder blade, as well as occasional numbness down my arm to my fingers. Is tendonitis a condition that never goes away, and is always susceptible to reinjury, and are my recent symptoms indicative of injury beyond bicipital tendinitis?

Doctor's response

The injury and resultant pain you describe are not typical for bicipital tendinitis. One cannot be certain of your problem without an examination, but it is highly likely that you have a rotator cuff problem. The fact that you have pain with external rotation could be due to the fact that you have strained or torn a rotator cuff muscle, since external rotation is a primary function of the rotator cuff. In addition, tendinitis is a condition that can fully heal.