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Thread: Torn Bicep

  1. #61
    Registered User JaggedBill's Avatar
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    After surgery, I was in a brace/bandages and sling for about 3 weeks. Then in a traditional cast and sling for another 3-4 weeks and then the custom ($$) robo brace (no sling) for a few more weeks. Sounds like you are in a brace earlier than I was. Just be careful.

    I had no idea how much wearing a sling would throw me off. For me, the sling caused neck problems due to the "pulling" and can cause residual problems with the shoulder due to having your shoulder and arm pulled forward in front of your body. The purpose of the sling seems to be to support the arm but having it supported in a more natural position (i.e. the side of the body) would seem to be a better option. (I would occasionally remove the sling and move my shoulder back to a natural position.)
    Yes, the atrophy really bummed me out but muscle remembers. My arm is starting to look like a real arm again. Hope your recovery goes well. Rest and heal.
    Last edited by JaggedBill; 08-29-2006 at 10:00 AM.

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    I just turned 32 but I feel I can chime in regarding this injury. Tore my biceps in Feb '06 and had the surgery about 4 weeks later. Yes, I waited too long hoping it wasn't a full tear.

    Due to the length of time in between, doctor had tougher time re-securing. Two anchors later and I'm in a full cast for 6 weeks I believe. "Robo-Cast" followed for another 6 weeks with an angle extension every two weeks.
    Been "Robo-Castless" since around June. Worst pain was in the wrist and shoulder. Was told explicitly, no twisting a doorknob type of movements. Wrist pain is mostly gone except when pressure is applied to my flat hand like in pushups. Shoulder still causes pain. Doc says it's tendonitis.

    Have not trained since even though I have clearance. Lost about 12lbs. I intend to soon but I am hesitant. Doc says it is much harder to do the surgery a second time.

    Not only have I not trained, but I have not even scanned this board until just now. Hard to read about supps and stuff when I was so far from the gym.

    Curious to hear about everyone's continued recovery. Best of luck all!

  3. #63
    Registered User JaggedBill's Avatar
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    Funny all the differences in recovery/rehab out there. I was told I could and should be moving my hand in doorknob type movements. I also have the pushup-position type problem you mentioned. Should clear up. (Kind of an overextended position anyways ain't it?)

  4. #64
    Tao of Iron wild1poet2's Avatar
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    My doc said I would end up finishing the distal tear completely eventually but that I should go about business as usual. But it's been awhile and I'm curling 130 to 140 pounds for 8 to 10 reps with no problem. No inflammation, tendonitis, and most importantly no pain. I'm probably safe to add plates on the bar now when I go into the winter bulk. If it was going to rip further it would have by now I think. I was worried about heavy shrugs and deadlifts but they haven't been a problem either. But I know people who have had the surgery and they are doing fine. One guy has some numbness in his forearm because they damaged a nerve during the procedure but he has full strength.

    As many have noted the dital bicep tear is the worst kind and generally will not heal without surgery.
    That which does not kill you makes you stronger.

  5. #65
    Registered User brunbomber's Avatar
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    Did you have surgery or only a partial tear? Also, there are a few types of surgery. Does anyone have experience with the one-incision method that uses a biotendonesis screw? Here they drill a hole in your radius, narrow and insert the tendon end into the hole, and insert a "bio-degradable" 9mm screw. (The screw dissolves after about 18 months, as bone and tendon grow to replace it). This was my method about one month ago, and I already have full extension, but am worried about pull-out strength. My doc told me the end of the tendon was trimmed to about half its width to fit into the hole, does that mean it is one-half as strong as it used to be, or will tendon grow back?

  6. #66
    Tao of Iron wild1poet2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by brunbomber
    Did you have surgery or only a partial tear? Also, there are a few types of surgery. Does anyone have experience with the one-incision method that uses a biotendonesis screw? Here they drill a hole in your radius, narrow and insert the tendon end into the hole, and insert a "bio-degradable" 9mm screw. (The screw dissolves after about 18 months, as bone and tendon grow to replace it). This was my method about one month ago, and I already have full extension, but am worried about pull-out strength. My doc told me the end of the tendon was trimmed to about half its width to fit into the hole, does that mean it is one-half as strong as it used to be, or will tendon grow back?
    My doc and I decided to wait because since it was a partial tear he was going to have to cut it the rest of the way to do the surgery. So he sent me off and said to go about business as usual because I got nothing to lose. He predicted it would just tear the rest of the way. To our surprise the inflammation eventually subsided and so far it has not torn. These distal tears supposedly do not heal but mine seems to have done so. The doc is surprised but I'm not really because I have always had faith in what one's body can do when left to its own natural processes.

    My doc told me that post surgery I would have 99.9% tendon rehab and that it would withstand all the stresses of lifting and athletics. He performed the surgery on Ted Johnson of the NE Patriots. I remember researching the injury and found that a lot of powerlifters and Strongman competitors incur this injury. They have the surgery and return to competition. I do not believe the tendon grows back but the tendon fibers that are there can grow thicker and stronger. Definitely speak to your doc in case your surgery presented complications. Even with the partial tear I am not finding any limitation to my workouts and I would suspect this would be analogous to your situation. If anything it has made me better at maintaining good form. I am especially careful with lifts like deadlifts where the legs can easily overpower the limits of the connective tissue of the arms.
    That which does not kill you makes you stronger.

  7. #67
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    Be a warrior like Yates


  8. #68
    Registered User Brian1383's Avatar
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    Distal Bicep Tear

    I see this is an older thread, but has been good info. Had a complete tear on Nov 27. Surgery a week later. Really don't know the success or failure yet...still in brace and bandages.

    Just a note...mine blew using an underhand grip on a deadlift. Lift was 455, which i have the back, leg, and other stregth to handle pretty well, but obviously I didn't have the muscular balance. Love working my triceps, but sometimes skimp on the curls. Now I'm paying the price.

    If anyone can learn anything from an old, currently broken, warrior it's balance, balance, balance. If one muscle is your best atribute its alternate companion is likely lacking. Work it.

    Lecture over. Thanks for letting me soapbox. Goal of a 500lb dead on my 50th birthday is still on, despite this setback!

  9. #69
    Registered User edvanp's Avatar
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    Good luck on your recovery! Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I've blown out both of mine a few years ago and I'm back at it hard. I don't deadlift, but I lift heavy as much as possible with no ill effects. The only advice I'll give you is to go easy when you get clearance to start using your arm again.

  10. #70
    Registered User Brian1383's Avatar
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    bicep tear

    Thanks ed. You bet I'm following the doc's orders. Will go light, but progressive. Kinda glad its winter in Michigan. What else do I have to do but shovel snow and rehab my arm? B

  11. #71
    Message Board King Baldsnake's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    You dudes are tough. I was lucky with only a tear. About 15 years ago during Nautilus (of all silly ass exercises) curls I got a sting in my inside elbow and I looked down and saw a small bump make its way up my bicep and toward my arm pit. I could actually see it curl up/retract. As I shouted with pain Harry Pearl (Bills bigger brother) ran into the office, came out with an ice bag and said "hold it on your bicep and don't let go". The next day I had a narrow blue streak along the pain path...elbow to arm pit. I went to the Ortho Doc and he told me I was lucky and tore only one or two of the 18 strands of the bicep attachment. He said that the others would grow in time and take over the job. Today I have equal sized and strength, but vastly different looking biceps.

    All of you will be back better than even....but missing that Arnold peak.

  12. #72
    Registered User edvanp's Avatar
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    You are correct baldsnake, my biceps look different post tear. They are longer and lack the peak they used to have. I also have a difficult time with certain 2 hand curls and the width of my hands, but I change it so it's comfortable. Small price to pay to get my strength back I figure.

  13. #73
    Chasing the dragon JRT6's Avatar
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    My doctor says bicep tears in men going into their 50"s is a very common surgery for him because our test levels drop fast at that age and the bicep tendons get weak. Says guys will tear bi's w/o over training or have any kind of warning.

    Guy at work rolled a quad muscle just stepping out of the car. He is off going on a year.
    Last edited by JRT6; 12-22-2006 at 02:03 AM.

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    Registered User Brian1383's Avatar
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    Tough? HA!

    Tough, Baldsnake? Naaaaah. Appreciate the thought, but bad form isn't tough...........it's just bad form! I really was looking for numbers more than physique, so this injury will set me back for sure. At 47, I'm not too concerned about an Arnold peak. Will be satisfied to get that 500 dl, turn just one 25 year old girls head at the beach, and keep my wife happy.....

    By the way....heard that partial tears are more painful, since there is still tension on the muscle. Mine looked horrid -most of my arm turned purple and there was a very noticeable void in my arm - but the pain was bearable.

    Happy Holidays! B

  15. #75
    Not Skinny Anymore Taichichuan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Baldsnake View Post
    You dudes are tough. I was lucky with only a tear. About 15 years ago during Nautilus (of all silly ass exercises) curls I got a sting in my inside elbow and I looked down and saw a small bump make its way up my bicep and toward my arm pit. I could actually see it curl up/retract. As I shouted with pain Harry Pearl (Bills bigger brother) ran into the office, came out with an ice bag and said "hold it on your bicep and don't let go". The next day I had a narrow blue streak along the pain path...elbow to arm pit. I went to the Ortho Doc and he told me I was lucky and tore only one or two of the 18 strands of the bicep attachment. He said that the others would grow in time and take over the job. Today I have equal sized and strength, but vastly different looking biceps.

    All of you will be back better than even....but missing that Arnold peak.
    Thank God, goodness, that you are alright, it could have been worse. Stay with it!

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    Not Skinny Anymore Taichichuan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brian1383 View Post
    I see this is an older thread, but has been good info. Had a complete tear on Nov 27. Surgery a week later. Really don't know the success or failure yet...still in brace and bandages.

    Just a note...mine blew using an underhand grip on a deadlift. Lift was 455, which i have the back, leg, and other stregth to handle pretty well, but obviously I didn't have the muscular balance. Love working my triceps, but sometimes skimp on the curls. Now I'm paying the price.

    If anyone can learn anything from an old, currently broken, warrior it's balance, balance, balance. If one muscle is your best atribute its alternate companion is likely lacking. Work it.

    Lecture over. Thanks for letting me soapbox. Goal of a 500lb dead on my 50th birthday is still on, despite this setback!
    Sir. May I address you as "Sire" Balance seems to be a big problem in tears and possible fractures. 500lb. deadlift will be perfect at your age. You must document, keep a log, everyday to prove to people that it really can be done!!!!
    Last edited by Taichichuan; 12-23-2006 at 05:42 AM.

  17. #77
    Registered User brunbomber's Avatar
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    back in the game

    My distal (near elbow) biceps tear surgery was almost 6 months ago. I had the single-incision method and would recommend this for anyone who has a very recent tear. This method reattaches your tendon into the radius with a biotenodesis (biodegradable) screw. It is a very secure and cutting-edge way to go. The old method makes an incision at the inner elbow, and on the outside upper forearm, and they stitch the tendon through.

    I am curling 40 pound dumbells with the bad arm and 45 or 50 with the good arm, and the bad one is catching up. The biceps, triceps and even shoulder on the bad arm were puny (even more than usual!) when I got my range-of-motion brace off.

    It was depressing, but I am making good progress and hope to get my arms up to 18+ inches (pumped and flexed to the max) by the first anniversary of the injury. This would be larger than they were before the injury.

    So, to anyone who tears the lower biceps tendon, get right to a doctor and demand an evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon. Don't wait, because if you do for a couple of weeks, this type of surgery will not be possible. My injury was not even painful, I just heard a snap (trying to show off by moving some concrete- not in the gym, not warmed up, and super-extended).

    Hope this is helpful! Be careful out there.

  18. #78
    Registered User JaggedBill's Avatar
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    Been nearly 9 months since my reattachment surgery. After surgery and during rehabilitation it has been important for me to do simple flexing exercises as well. I had a complete distal tear and had a good attachment with the surgery (just a few days later) but my ability to flex and contract the muscle so that it "feels" right is a bit off. (When I flex the arm it "feels like" I'm contracting it but the muscle contraction is still different. The muscle doesn't fire or pop as effectively as the good arm when I flex it.) I have been doing simple flexing exercises using light resistance tubing to re-learn proper contraction "feel".

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    right

    JaggedBill,

    I have the same problem. I can get my good biceps to flex hard, but the repaired one just isn't firing properly. I am going to start hammer curls and pronation-supination exercises to see if that helps. Some size is coming back to the bad arm, but good thing I'm not a competitor, my front double biceps pose would be a joke.

    Brunbomer

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    New injury

    Originally Posted by JaggedBill View Post
    Been nearly 9 months since my reattachment surgery. After surgery and during rehabilitation it has been important for me to do simple flexing exercises as well. I had a complete distal tear and had a good attachment with the surgery (just a few days later) but my ability to flex and contract the muscle so that it "feels" right is a bit off. (When I flex the arm it "feels like" I'm contracting it but the muscle contraction is still different. The muscle doesn't fire or pop as effectively as the good arm when I flex it.) I have been doing simple flexing exercises using light resistance tubing to re-learn proper contraction "feel".
    Hey Bill, I just read through your process starting with your first post.
    I just tore my left distal bicep nine days ago (throwing a hook punch at a kickboxing class) and had surgery four days ago. They immediately put me into the robo brace, and I go in for an adjustment in a couple days.

    What do I do to keep my spirits up, and what advice do you have that you'd wish you had known when you were in my shoes?
    Any other member replies are welcomed, of course!
    "There's no time to talk, only time to suffer."

    "Tolerance is the virtue of a man with no convictions."

  21. #81
    Registered User JaggedBill's Avatar
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    Its been a while since I checked this thread but good luck to you King Creatine. For me-I was absolutely miserable for two months after surgery. I would like to say that I had a great atittude throughout recovery but I was too frustrated and exhausted having to do everything with only one arm (fortunately my dominant arm). It really did seem like one long bad dream and I was short and impatient with others. (This is common with being debilitated but don't do it.) The atrophy (particularly in my tricep) was particularly depressing. I finally understood the meaning of "tone" when my arm shrank and changed shape.

    I lift weights and do a lot of rockclimbing but I have been fortunate and not suffered any serious injuries until this one.

    So, here's the good stuff as I see it-. We are fortunate to be living at a time where we can medically repair these sorts of things. (And even then, many people living nowadays could never afford to do what some of us can.) My arm looks good and my strength is coming back. Be patient and take it slow when you're back to work. We are so used to the original dimensions of our bodies that a small change of even a few millimeters makes us have to re-learn a new way to function.
    Last edited by JaggedBill; 05-24-2007 at 09:28 PM.

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    I tore my bicep tendon from the top of the shoulder. I had a spur in the
    joint and it cut the tendon. I've had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders
    so recovery is nothing new to me. I decided not to repair the bicep and
    lost about 20% of my strength in my right arm(I'm left handed)...but i've
    got the COOLEST bicep on my right arm....my daughterts get a kick when
    i flex.......I'm still strong,and it does'nt hamper my training......DAVE
    "KNOWLEDGE IS POWER"
    I LIKE THE CAP LOCK...DO YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH IT!!!!

  23. #83
    Da1UnV bodyhard's Avatar
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    How do you know if you are GETTING a tear on your bicep? My left bicep has been killing me whenever I do deadlifts, shrugs, BOR, Pull-ups anything that stretches the bicep.

    It is really hurting right in between the bicep and the forearm, is this an early indication of a tear?
    It's difficult to stand out if you're too busy trying to fit in. ~

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  24. #84
    Registered User King Creatine's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    How do you know if you are GETTING a tear on your bicep? My left bicep has been killing me whenever I do deadlifts, shrugs, BOR, Pull-ups anything that stretches the bicep.

    It is really hurting right in between the bicep and the forearm, is this an early indication of a tear?
    This may be informative, or just scare you perhaps. I'll offer up my experience anyway. Last May, I had the exact same pain you are talking about. I believe that I initiated the pain doing weighted pullups.

    Anyway, the pain lasted for several months and finally subsided to an extent. Two months after having relatively little pain, I tore my bicep throwing a punch at a weird angle. My belief is that I may have created a partial tear doing the pullups, and completed the tear several months later.

    Good luck!
    "There's no time to talk, only time to suffer."

    "Tolerance is the virtue of a man with no convictions."

  25. #85
    Registered User leodegranz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    How do you know if you are GETTING a tear on your bicep? My left bicep has been killing me whenever I do deadlifts, shrugs, BOR, Pull-ups anything that stretches the bicep.

    It is really hurting right in between the bicep and the forearm, is this an early indication of a tear?
    I had a similar issue. There was always a low level pain when I did bicep work (I irritated my bicep about two years ago holding my daughter), but I went heavy without warming up one day, and my arm felt off, but no audible pop. Subsequently, I had 60-75% of my strength, and can even do sets of pull-ups, but there is a noticable pain if I do too many reps or go too heavy.

    Per my MRI, the radiologist concluded I had a partial tear, but my Doc mentioned that it is difficult to predict the effects of a partial tear. He did a strength test, and my right arm was significantly weaker than my left (Try a hammer curl, that emphasizes your bicep, and it is the easiest to determine if you've lost strength) He then gave me two options aggressive (immediate surgery) or conservative (wait an additional month - total of two months post injury).

    I waited the extra month, and I have regained some strength, but I'm disatisfied with the strength level and the prospect of it tearing fully in an uncontrolled fashion. So I opted for the surgery.

  26. #86
    Chasing the dragon JRT6's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bodyhard View Post
    How do you know if you are GETTING a tear on your bicep? My left bicep has been killing me whenever I do deadlifts, shrugs, BOR, Pull-ups anything that stretches the bicep.

    It is really hurting right in between the bicep and the forearm, is this an early indication of a tear?
    I had the same symptoms when I found out I had arthritis. Turns out bone spurs were preventing me from fully extending my arm so my bicep was taking too much stress. I can't hold a barbell with over 300lbs anymore.

  27. #87
    Registered User leodegranz's Avatar
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    Had my surgery two days ago. The tendon was 50% torn.

  28. #88
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    had my surgery 5 weeks ago

    completely tore my distal biscep tendon. had the single incision surgery 2 days later.. in a restricted movement brace for 2 weeks, then Dr. removed it and stitches..and I started very light therapy that day..have been going to therapy 1 X per week ( doing just very limited movement). I am still sore but improving..The suplication is the hardest part.. arm is very weak, ( I start lifting 2lb next week).. I do ROM exercise at home 3X per day..after moist heat..for 15 minutes ( that feels so good) then after the Range of Movements..ice for 15 minutes ( thats feels even better).. I turned 54 the day after the surgery. Have always been pretty active..lifting, tennis, softball, and the sort..! I hurt it though after using a sledge hammer, then lifting and trying to flip a die shoe ( just about 100lbs)..got in a bit of a strain trying to control it and I felt and heard the "pop" so many mention.. my bicep immediately went toward my shoulder..Dr. is saying even when I think it has healed..It will really be about a year, before it is "good and attached"..anyway I can't wait.."but I have too!..Be Patient!

  29. #89
    Gimpius Maximus 4estGimp's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bi19tri View Post
    Anybody torn a bicep and had it fixed? what was recovery like and how long?
    Dave
    Well I have a friend at t-nation who suffered a complete rupture not too long ago. He is already back to competing in strongman.

    http://my.tmagnum.com/Phill

    Tell him "4est" sent you. He's a really nice guy and would probably be more than happy to help you.
    Overcoming the Pressure of a Six-Pack: How I Gained 100 lbs in High School
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    Westside for Skinny Bastards: http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=459321

    Teens have the most growth potential and highest testosterone of their lives. Don't waste it cutting and looking at your abs.

    SQUAT, BENCH, DEADLIFT , ROW - EAT, SLEEP, GROW. Train with intensity - Train consistently.

  30. #90
    Registered User King Creatine's Avatar
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    Coming up on seven months post tear. I feel great! My strength is down in my bicep, which affects a few other lifts as well. Symmetry is off, but I don't compete and it doesn't look horrible.

    The good news is that I am able to do just about everything I was doing before with minimal pain. Good luck all.
    "There's no time to talk, only time to suffer."

    "Tolerance is the virtue of a man with no convictions."

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