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Old 05-05-2009, 03:39 PM   #1
Robert Gibbons
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Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

Just curious to know if anyone out there has suffered from this injury and what their expereinces were pre/post surgery. How did you return to working out,etc?
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:11 AM   #2
Robert Gibbons
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

Here is some more info. I ruptured my distal bicep tendon (left arm) on March 22nd 2009. It occurred when I was doing skin the cats on the rings. Heard a pop and then the discomfort in the forearm. No bruising occurred. Just a lot of pain in the forearm area. It was very difficult to pronate or suppinate my hand. That is because the main job of the bicep muscle is to do that, from my understanding. Got an MRI later that week. Diagnosis: 90% rupture, need surgery.

The distal bicep tendon attaches at the elbow and according to the doctors not many people rupture this tendon at my age (30) and surgery is highly encouraged especially if one is active.

Surgery took place on April 17, 2009. I have been in a soft cast since then and will get it off on May 11, 2009. I will then be placed into an adjustable/locking cast for "some time" that will prevent too much movement. Not sure what will happen after that. Supposedly 16 weeks for recovery. That means 16 weeks before a "load" can be applied to the arm.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated from experiences to getting back into the gym.

Thanks in advance
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:38 AM   #3
Everett Steinbarger
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

I have not had this injury, but see it often enough in office and also assist in the repair and watching over our patients as they recover.

I am a Physician Asst.(PA-C).

The potocol you are presently on is very similar to what our patients go through. At the 12-16 week mark we have them begin doing some resistive exercises. You will find that you will be very stiff and it will be hard to regain a normal Range of Motion. My advice would be: Don't Force It. Your ROM will return gradually in a few months. Some people are left with a small amount of angulation that never goes away, usually it's not a problem or is barely noticeable.

During the recovery phase exercise should not be anything nearly as aggressive as CrossFit. I would caution you that before you resume CrossFit, be sure your surgeon knows what it involves.....he/she may want you to recover a little more than the usual bird.

Whatever the case, do as your surgical team directs you.

Here's to a speedy recovery.
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Old 05-06-2009, 04:52 PM   #4
Robert Gibbons
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

Everett-

Thanks for the information and your insight. I am not planning on doing anything aggressive (Crossfit) with my injured arm until October/November 2009. Obviously that all depends on recovery but that is what I’m shooting for.

My doctors know how I suffered the injury (ring use) but I didn’t elaborate on the other things that I do: squats, cleans, deadlifts, pull-ups etc. This is because my past experiences with doctors. They say things like, “squats are bad.” This mentality has made me reluctant to discuss Crossfit type workouts with them. I will let them know based on your insight what I plan on doing to my body after recovery.

With that being said I am looking for my doctors to help me instead of discouraging me from working out. That is why I asked the message board for advice on returning to WOD’s/fitness.

Furthermore, when my soft cast comes off I am going to start working out but only with one arm. I can do one-arm thrusters, kettle bell snatches, swings, etc. Box jumps, squats are also easily doable.
Again thanks for your thoughts on this matter.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:54 PM   #5
Everett Steinbarger
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

Sounds to me that you have a pretty level-headed approach to your recovery. That will go a long way for you.

Questions for you Robert:

Did you have any forearm/elbow pain prior to the disruption?

Do you have any pain in the other forearm/elbow?

Is your natural physique heavily muscled? Built like the proverbial fireplug?

How did your surgeon fix the tendon? 1 incision or 2 incisions? (This is purely academic).
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:53 PM   #6
Robert Gibbons
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everett Steinbarger View Post
Sounds to me that you have a pretty level-headed approach to your recovery. That will go a long way for you.

Questions for you Robert:

Did you have any forearm/elbow pain prior to the disruption?

Do you have any pain in the other forearm/elbow?

Is your natural physique heavily muscled? Built like the proverbial fireplug?

How did your surgeon fix the tendon? 1 incision or 2 incisions? (This is purely academic).
1st Question: No pain at all or anything out of the ordinary.

2nd Question: No pain in the right arm. I have never had any issues in either forearm/elbow. I thought that it was odd that it just occurred out of the blue. I have been doing Crossfit off and on since 2005. Within the last 2 years I usually workout for six months then take six months off for work.

3rd Question: I wouldn't consider myself a fireplug. Long arms and torso. 5'-11" 175#

4th Question: The surgeon made a V incision.

Hope that helps
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:32 PM   #7
Rolf Whitney
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

I had it...had surgery in May of 2007. Four months until clear to do anything...but it really takes at least a year before you are back to normal.
It is fun trying though...I found Crossfit right as I was cleared for workouts, and that helped wonderfully!
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:46 AM   #8
Everett Steinbarger
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

Rolf, got a couple of questions for you too.

1. When did you start doing CF after your repair?

2. When did you actually feel "OK" about the workouts, and were comfortable that you weren't going to re-tear the repair?

Thanx for any info you can give,

Everett
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:07 PM   #9
Rolf Whitney
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

The repair was in mid-May, 2007, and I was released to do whatever I wanted to do in mid-September. I knew that my strength component would be pretty low, but started doing whatever I could do...then in early October, 2007, I found Crossfit and started the workouts.
My doc told me that I would be better than I had been before the surgery, but it wouldn't happen overnight. I never had concerns that I would rerupture the arm...I actually had more concerns that I would injure the healthy one!
While I felt ok with the workouts, I scaled the hell out of them initially, and worked my way up. I think it took in excess of a year before I thought that my arm was back where it was pre-injury, but thanks to crossfit I am in better shape now (and stronger) than ever before in my lifetime....really. Almost exactly 2 years post op, and now my arm is only a topic of conversation. Now, at age 51, I am doing the crossfit football workouts, and am having a ball.
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:42 PM   #10
Robert Gibbons
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Re: Distal Bicep Tendon Rupture

I got my soft cast off on Monday and they put a locking type elbow brace on my arm. I have flexion movement but can't fully straighten out my left arm with the cast on.

The area where they cut is numb when I touch it, not a a lot of feeling. I think that is normal with operations and goes away after awhile. My doctor believes I should be ready by the middle of July to allow loads on the arm. Like I have stated before I am not going to push anything.

Rolf-

Thanks for the info about your recovery. It is good to know that you recovered with great results. I am 30 so hopefully that is on my side for my recovery time.

I will keep posting on this thread to allow people to see the results and recovery. By the way my left arm has a lot of atrophy. I knew that would happen but it is strange looking compared with my right arm. Can't wait to do some pullups
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