Sunday, August 7, 2011

Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture (Part 2-Recovery)

I haven't realized the significance of posting here until recently. My previous Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture post has had many hits recently and I thought it might be a good idea to actually put some useful information regarding recovery here. I am currently about eight months post surgery and I thought I would give a little timeline about my recovery and the tactics I used for a successful recovery.

A little history-
I ruptured my bicep on Dec 18th 2010 while bouldering (rock climbing) in Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. For those interested, I was climbing an iconic boulder problem called Caveman that was established by John Long when I was a wee boy. I was actually doing the longer (and harder) sit start version and was very close to finishing the climb having done the crux downward climbing (not using the cheater jug out left) when things went wrong...

The sequence goes like this-
I was climbing feet first through the horizontal roof. My left hand was in a shallow two finger pocket/dish and my left foot was hooked on an enormous hold. I reached through with my right hand to awkwardly match my foot and hand. I then released my left foot and flagged it out on the wall, at this point my right arm was twisted in a very strange way to hold on. My palm was facing up but my pinky was pointing towards me and my thumb was pointing away (towards my feet). All of my body weight is now on my right foot, which is smeared on the adjacent face, and my right arm which is uncomfortably loaded. I then shifted my weight to the left, which twisted my right arm even more, and moved my left hand from the nearly worthless pocket/dish to match on the big hold. As soon as my left hand touched the hold there was a loud POP and I fell to the ground. I knew immediately what had happened. I yelled to Mer that I had just ripped my bicep from the bone. My bicep was rolled up into my arm and laying to the side. It was definitely grotesque looking but there was not much, if any, pain associated with the injury.

Off to the emergency room-
This was a worthless thousand dollars spent. They took X-rays that no one ever looked at and gave me nearly useless information, except that I needed to have surgery within ten days or two weeks.

Surgery on Dec 28th 2010-
Surgery went well, like I said in my previous post I had the endo button procedure that is supposed to greatly reduce recovery time. Which it did! I highly recommend this procedure, if doctors are trying to prescribe old school methods find another doctor.

-Two weeks post surgery in a splint
-After two weeks change from splint (mummy arm) to removable splint (cyborg arm)
-Start PT during week three. I was supposed to go 2x's per week and wear my removable splint at all
  times except during PT for the next four weeks
-Each week increase range of motion by 15 degrees or so
-At six weeks post surgery I would be allowed to lift up to 5 lbs.
-At nine weeks I would increase to 10 lbs.
-At twelve weeks I would lift up to 30 lbs
-At 24 weeks I would return to unrestricted activities given;
  1) Normal muscle strength in upper extremity
  2) No pain
  3) Full range of motion
  4) No muscle atrophy

After surgery I took pain killers for a day because I was expecting a lot of pain. It never came though, the hardest part of it all was sleeping. It is very difficult to sleep with your arm in these contraptions. I found that sleeping on my left (non injured side) or back with a pillow to prop the injured arm up relieved the most discomfort. I had read that sleeping in a recliner works well, but we don't have a recliner...

My recovery went really well, when the splint was first removed I felt very vulnerable and protected my arm as much as I could. I was scared to see what my full range of motion was and babied it for about a week. However, I made sure to keep up with the minimal requirements for range of motion during this time frame. Supination and pronation of my wrist was (and still is) the most difficult exercise. My PT instructions said to do the exercises 4-6 times a day on my own. I took this as a prescription for the average person, I consider myself an athlete with a high tolerance for pain and tried to do my exercises 8-10 times a day. Often focusing on the things that gave me the most trouble. Stretching was VERY important during the early stages, but massage was EXTREMELY important for me. The scar tissue that built up in my arm from the surgery really hindered me and I can't express the need to break it down enough. It hurts like hell but leads to a faster and safer recovery (IMHO). I also began running and working on cardio machines at the gym about a week post surgery. My theory was; with the increased heart rate associated with the exercise, this would increase my blood flow to the injured area, and expedite the healing process. I did have to make sure to elevate and ice my arm afterwards, in fact I iced and elevated my arm several times a day for the first 3-4 months (swelling inhibits healing).

When it came time to start lifting light weights, I was told to do so many sets, so many times a day... I became obsessed with lifting these and would do sets of 50 to a 100 reps with the light weights. I continued this with the ten pounders as well. It felt sooo good to feel some burn in my arms again. Five pounds doesn't sound like much, but when you lift a thousand times a day it causes some fatigue!

So basically I went completely over board and obsessed with my exercises. This OCD behavior got me several things;
  1) I only went to PT 2x's a week for two weeks
  2) I felt comfortable without my cyborg arm at about 4 weeks (I would wear it in public for 6 weeks
      and skiing for several more months)
  3) I started skiing about 4 weeks post surgery (due to full range of motion)
  4) I finished PT about a month early
  5) I was released from the doctor about a month early
  6) Started light climbing around 10-12 weeks post surgery

All of these things happened because I did what I was supposed to and then some. I can't recommend this enough, if you are lazy with your recovery your arm may never recover fully. As someone who loves to get outside and be immersed in adventure, full recovery was my only option.

So in the end my elbow never really hurt, but my wrist was in some pain. It would often get very tight and I would lose a lot of mobility. I believe this was due to the build up of scar tissue in my for-arm. That was one draw back from leaving PT so early, I did not get the regular massage. If you end up in the same situation I recommend visiting a massage therapist.

Around five months post surgery I was bouldering a bit. I even tried hard on occasion and this often led to a lot of wrist pain afterwards. I also tweaked my shoulder/neck at one point. These muscles were probably weakened due to the lack of use. So, I slowed down after an exciting start. Around 26 weeks 95% of all weirdness was gone. I would occasionally feel some resistance in my wrist but it would go away quickly. Now I don't think about my arm much at all. The huge worm like scar reminds me of the incident and I often shy away from underclings, but I am at 99.5% and I expect a 110% recovery. The added 10% is from the wisdom gained from the experience and improved footwork to keep the weight off my arms.

So, after feeling completely devastated and depressed thinking that I would not be able to climb at the same level again and that my ski season was over, it turned out to be the exact opposite. I will probably be climbing harder than ever soon and I skied around 100 days for the 10/11 season.

If you have any questions please leave a comment or e-mail me (my email is on my profile page). I will answer any questions ASAP as I know this is a stressful event in anyones life.




  1. Thanks Ken, what an inspiration you are, I so appreciate your link here.

    I ruptured my bicep tendon yesterday lifting a couple of sheets of drywall at Home Depot. I’m strong as a bull, and this really blew me away? I feel so bumbed out about it. The hospital told me to come back for xrays? not sure wasn't paying much attention at that point, and that I need it operated on within 10 days. I am waiting for the hospital to call me, then I will get an appointment for the Orthopedic surgeons office.

    No pain, just looks like Popeye, and I’m really bumbed out about loss of strength and how bad it looks. I am such a physical guy, have so much to do around the house, and my rental properties, I can’t imagine not having full recovery.

    Reading your post was awesome, especially today, 1 day after the accident......I have some concerns and maybe you can help me

    -will I get full recovery too, full strength back?
    -My left bicep was always much weaker than my right, and I’m thinking maybe it was torn already?
    -How can tendons just rupture like that, doesn’t it mean it was frayed or weakened from past use? I don’t get it, just a simple turn in a weird way, and it ruptures?
    -Say the tendons are so torn, frayed and damaged, they can’t fix it?

    Much appreciated

    1. Hey Damon, I'm 19-20 months out from surgery and I have all my strength back. I felt about 90% 10-12 months post surgery, really the only issue I had was with my wrist. I could pronate and supinate, but my wrist would crack and catch. This eventually went away too. The most difficult part for me was the mental aspect, I recommend taking it one day at a time and you'll be just fine Damon. Letting it heal is EXTREMELY important.
      -I can't comment to what condition you tendon was prior to rupture, but your surgeon may be able give you some guidance there.
      -Remember, the human body is amazing and is extremely resilient.
      -Rest, eat well, and physical therapy is a major component to a swift and proper recovery.
      Best of luck Damon!

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  2. Very much appreciated Ken, and thanks for sharing your story, it helped me when i was really bumbed about it. Damon

  3. I really appreciate your story, but bummed about hearing how it didn't hurt.., when mine ripped it felt like someone had snapped my forearm bone in half like snapping a tree branch, worst pain ever!

    I have been a athlete my entire life, including state champion power lifter so I was crushed and embarrassed when it happened bowling with my daughter. I had the Endobutton surgery done the end of Feb of this year and while I am happy to say no nerve damage issues and complete full use of my arm and fingers, the area that they drilled to attach the tendon still gives me problems with a stinging / paper cut sensation. Although I haven't started lifting weights yet (been afraid to, no confidence in the arm) I do lift and carry items around the house and office.

    My question to Ken and all who have had the surgery, is what is mental and what is real? Is it just my lack of confidence in my arm so get over it and start training again or is it telling me to take it slow yet? I tired of the non-toned arm and feel it's time to bite the bullet and start training again.., yet I don't want to go through this all over again either.

    Thanks, Ski

    1. Hey Ski, I'm not sure what you timeline is in regards to post surgery, but I found that doing lots of reps for the weight allotted by my PT worked very well for me. As I'm sure you know, high reps will tone your muscles and lifting mass will build mass. Given that, I religiously did my PT EVERYDAY and felt like I was on the front end of the curve.

      On another note, during my pre-op appointment with my surgeon, I asked what my expected recovery to be. My doctor said that it was up to me. Most patients that do not have 99-100% recovery is because of their own mental limitations. My arm is 100% healed and your will be too. Take your time with it and you will know when its ready to be pushed. Pain is part of the recovery.

      Oh, everyone is different, mine didn't hurt, but I could be in the minority.


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  4. I ruptured mine July 5 2012 and had surgery July 18. I have now started physical therapy and it is some of the worst pain I ever felt. I tore mine water skiing and barely noticed it till I tried to pick up my skis and didnt have any stength. I have most my pain running down my forearm and into my wrist. Did you experience the same. But will say so far massageing the scar tissue is the worst

    1. Yes, wrist pain was the worse for me too. Especially during recovery, that sucker was tight!!! It by far took longer for my wrist to heal than my elbow. I'm a little over a year and a half out from surgery and I rarely think about my arm. My right wrist (injured arm) will still crack more then my left, but I think most of the scar tissue is finally broken down. I know it's painful, but I would recommend biting the bullet and break down that scar tissue sooner than later! That is my one complaint about my recovery. Cheers and I hope it goes well for you Tom!

  5. Thanks, I needed the reassurance that the wrist pain was typical. I am working hard to get my arm back. I have a fall softball league starting the end of sept. Tho I know I wont be able to throw I hope to be able to bat (I was still able to hit well right up till my surgery). Plus I would like to hit the golf course again before it snows. Thanks again I know the more info thays out there to help others recover the better.

  6. I had surgery on July 31, 2012. The doctor said that I don't need PT; he will send me if I think I need it. I guess I'll try and go it alone. I've been doing all sorts of mobility stuff, and just starting using a 3lb weight for curls, shoulder presses, tricep extensions.

    I have pain in my wrist if I try to get in push up position. (on my knees) I'm thinking it is caused by lack of use, and the nerve having been moved around. Also, I can't fully straighten my arm 100% yet at 6 weeks. So that's part of the issue too, I'm guessing. All the mechanics are thrown off :)

    Thanks for posting your story! It is great to hear of people that are healing well. I hope to get back to surfing by Nov / Dec 2012. That might be overly conservative, but I'm not sure at this point

    1. so doug i to done me arm in distal rupture i done it at work lifting a solid door and off to surgery any how hows recovery going i to am a keen surfer so just seeing when you got back in the water surfing and also also in the pool swimming as i love training
      and hanging to get back in the water i have a tripped booked to bali 14 weeks after surgery i had booked this trip before accident

      mate be gret to hear how you going thanks todd

  7. Thanks for posting. I am 1 week post surgery. I severed my distal tendon playing flag football!! I reached down with my left arm extended and someone jumped and kicked my arm right in the front of the elbow. I had surgery 18 hrs later. Do not wait, every day counts with this injury. Today was my first post op visit. I have great range, can extend my arm full length and retract about 90%. Twisting my wrist is very painful and about 15% of my good wrist. I am a pilot, so my left hand is my control hand and getting that function back is important to me physically and financially.

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  8. Hi, I am a pilot aswell, I ruptured my left distal tendon three weeks ago, had surgery two weeks ago and am back at 100% extension and flexion, still lacking on supination and pronation at about 50%... I hope to be back in the air by mid December...
    I've had the two incision technique and can very much recommend it, results are already great!


  9. Thanks Ken for your post! I injured my left bicep on 9/10/12 and had surgery within 2 weeks. I injured mine lifting a 120 lb. door. I am a avid golfer and am very concerned about my ability to recover 100% with a full range of motion. Your post gives me a lot of hope and what to expect. I do have one thing in my favor, my daughter has degree in Athletic Training which will help tremendously with the PT!

  10. I ruptured my distal biceps last Friday during boxing sparring. When It happened I thought so me one had gotten a gun out and shot it at me. There wasn't really much pain and straight away I knew something was up as my biceps recoiled towards my shoulder by 1cm or so. I am devastated and I think I'm getting surgery done next week. I am a athlete by nature and I am very scared as how this will effect me in the future. I am 21 and still young. This has forever changed me. Any advise on the mental side? and recovery as such?

    1. Hey Tommy how's your bicep now? Are you back to normal activity and are u boxing? I'm 5 weeks post surgery! Sam

  11. Update from my oct 4th post. Just shy of 5 weeks post injury/surgery. My arm feels great, other then being week from the lack of use. My right arm bicep is now twice the size of my left. I have not done any rehab (that starts nov 6) and at this point have full range back. I do very light movement exercises (using my right hand to assist) such as lifting my arm and twisting my wrist. I can with no assistance twist my wrist pain free to about 90% of my good arm, so that is great. I can lift (curl motion) my arm on its own with no problem, and was able to do so on my 3 week Dr. Visit.
    The Dr said although my progress is way ahead of schedule, he did not want me to curl or twist my wrist unassisted yet. At present other then being week, I feel ready to start rebuilding the muscles. I am pleased with little to no pain, and no nerve damage that I can tell.

    As noted above, I also had the 2 incision method. Frankly, I told the Dr to peel my arm like a banana if he needed to, to get a good repair and no nerve damage. The front of the elbow incision is the most tender part up to this point. With my arm at full extension the tendon presses against the incision.

    In my research and discussions with the Dr, I am convinced time is large factor. Don't wait days to get into surgery.

    For now it is another 9 day with the sling and removable cast.

  12. Tommie, being a pilot and a new dad I was pretty concerned that I would not recover 100 % to fly, or throw/play with my little one. At this point I have not started any therapy but am confident I will be 100 % at some point. The Dr assured me that with the screw/button and suture method that a rerepture was unlikely. I told him I lift weight, jog, work out, pull up, push ups etc, and he told me in time those activities will not be an issue. Hang in there and don't rush the recovery.

  13. (N.E. Patriot Fan!!) I suffered a total distal bicep tear in early september attempting to straighten handlebars on an atv. I am a 32 yr.old avid weight lifter and athlete. The injury caught me by suprise!! The stress that is placed on the distal bicep tendon when lifting heavy loads, and/or thrusting violently at an object when your palms are turned away from your body was the cause. I am 6 weeks post surgery and am ready to begin light active P.T. As a result of the stretching excercises and cardio (blood flow) I have been achieving at home) my physical therapist did not feel a need for me to do go to the office weeks 3,4 and 5. I experienced very little pain at the time of the tear, mostly swelling and brusing in the forearm. Post surgery I was sore for a day or two however did not feel I needed pain meds past that. I began taking long walks a few days after surgery, and running about two weeks after surgery. I experienced a decent amount of discomfort in the wrist, and found the numbness in my forearm and wrist pain to be the most agravating aspect of the injury. My doctor told me the pain in the wrist is caused when fluid from the trauma settles in the wrist area. This can be worked out with ice and elevating the arm. As far as the numbness in the area my doctor said it could take up to a year to regain normal feeling again and even at that it is unlikely to regain past 95% feeling. He also advised me that I am a good year out from lifting heavy weights etc. I have to admit at week 6 im starting to get used to the numbness. Thanks to everyone that has posted their stories, I have found them very helpful. Can't wait til full recovery!! GOOD LUCK and stay active!!

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  14. Thanks for the posting. I ruptured my tendon lifting computers on November 4 while working with my team. I immediately went to the ER and yes, it was worthless. My biggest fear was that it was a Workers Comp case. It took the Surgeon and the WC people several weeks to get on the same page. Finally, a month after the injury I had surgery. At two weeks, the bulky bandaging was removed and I was told to start ROM stretches with no brace. I have been very happy in that I can already straighten my arm and bend it well, but notice a lot of swelling around the incision site, which starts below the crease of my elbow, continues downt he crease, then up the arm. I find it weird how different everyone's post op rehab is.

    1. Follow up. I started by strength therapy on Feb. 5, approximately nine weeks after surgery. I have the Z-scar, and am getting better. Thereapist has me working to restore full range of motion, which is around 2 degrees of my dominant right arm. Started working with 1 pound weighs. We will get there.

    2. Follow up. July, approximately 8 months post surgery. Arm is much stronger, but I have some discomfort after I use it heavily. I am currently doing 3 sets of curls at 10 pounds each every other day, and stretching with bands everyday. I have started using it more and more without thinking about it for everyday things. At my last PT session a few months ago, I could straighten the arm completely and was only 1-2 degrees from flexing it at the same level as the other arm. Because it took a month before surgey, the atrophy of the bicep is the biggest thing, as working to strengthen it seems to now be the biggest thing.

  15. I had the endo-button surgery yesterday, and reportedly it was successful -- I was loopy from the anesthesia so it was my wife that talked to the doc! My injury happened Dec 30, 2012, lifting a 100 lbs file cabinet that had cement counterweights fused to the inside back wall. We had it on a hand truck and I reached down under the wheels to try to get it up the first step, when I felt a "Pop-Pop!" And a stabbing pain in my left biceps. After doing some research on the Internet, I was fairly certain I had ruptured the tendon. When I called my primary care doc the next day, he said don't bother coming to see him, but to try to get in to see an orthopedic specialist that day (New Year's Eve!). I'm glad he urged me not to wait because in the last week I've talked to several people who also ruptured their biceps tendon, and their outcomes have not been as great as what guys have posted here. One was not told that surgical repair was an option, so he didn't know about it until much later. He's been frustrated with the loss of strength in his injured arm (and its spindly appearance on the beach). Another did not seek treatment until beyond a month post-injury, and to repair his biceps, he had to have a tendon graft from a cadaver. My doc told me that's a much more complicated surgery after the condition becomes chronic. So if you think you've just injured your biceps, listen to what these posts are saying and get seen as soon as possible! I'm just one day post-surgery, but I appreciate hearing about everyone's experience with rehab. I'm a great believer in physical therapy since it really helped with some low back pain. Sounds like the rehab is going to be a bit painful, but to get full strength in my left arm back, it will be worth it! Thanks for the posts!

  16. I ruptured my RH distal bicep late Sept 2012 on a SAT while chain sawing a log. Cut through the log and went to kick the free piece away while hanging the chainsaw straight down by one hand....felt a 'squishy pop' and thought ohhh no...maybe just a slight tear in muscle. Really had no pain while supporting arm in "sling" position. Tried to move pain intense though I could move it & thought there is no way the tendon could be torn!!
    As stated by fellow bloggers above...went to prompt care where they took numerous xrays etc...which showed nothing of the muscle or tendon. Saw the orthopedic Surgeon following MON....he stated he was 99% sure it was ruptured as issues with twisting wrist "screwdriver style" funny I never knew your bicep "twisted your wrist"...... Had MRI following TUES week...confirmed tear scheduled surgery. Checked internet and there are some great Youtube video's showing exactly what they do to repair.
    OCT 4th 2012 - Surgery in first up and released after midday.
    NOTE: time is of the essence to get this repaired asap as can only lead to further complications...though from the time of rupture and surgery date was 11 arm felt normal...could extend no problems and you start second guessing if there is really any problems.
    Post surgery felt ok kept up pain meds for a few days.....ensure you keep up with excessive fluids as the meds combined with surgery anesthetics "backed" me up for nearly a week.

    Arm in cast for 2 weeks....after this sling support for another week or so...very protective after that as I travel for work and was scared of hurting or re-tearing........I have the "Zorro" Z scar over inner elbow.
    Straight after surgery I felt inside of arm was numb and wrist was very sore???? Checked with surgeon and stated that due to area of repair the nerve has to be moved and in most cases numbness from a few mths to a year :(
    NOV 2012 - Started official rehab as it was very tight (4 weeks post Op.), on my sore RH wrist approx 1" up arm area of tendon was a serious lump felt like I had been hit with a baseball bat....continued to get ultra sound to reduce swelling....still no explanation why wrist and finger tendon area's sore.
    Continued at home with rehab exercises thru DEC....wrist still sore & phantom pains at tendon attachment area when pull forearm unto bicep. Had a 2nd MRI on elbow and issues could be determined!

    Continued to massage scar tissue with oil from inside Vitamin E capsules....great product.

    5th JAN 2013 - Released from rehab therapy...full super and pro movement
    5th FEB 2013 - wrist still sore & phantom pains at tendon attachment area when pull forearm onto all comments on internet....this can be a long drawn out affair!! Still have a 6"-8" area down inner wrist from base of thumb which is still numb.
    Thank you for all your comments they are very helpful!!

  17. Tore mine 5 and 1/2 weeks ago climbing a fence to get my dog - foot caught and slid down the ice embankment on the other side while holding on at a bad angle. Felt an intense burning sensation for 5 minutes, but then it went away (nothing like shoulder stability/injury issues I previously corrected with surgery). Went on with my day, until I checked and noticed the popeye condition.

    Spent a useless few hours in the ER that day (Friday afternoon) where the nurse practitioner ignored the obvious and insisted it wasn't torn clinically b/c I could move it (she never heard of the other muscle ...). After arguing with her based on the visual and consulting with others, I ignored her "misdiagnosis" and saw an orthopedic surgeon (Monday) who confirmed a complete tear within 30 seconds. Got the MRI Wed which confirmed the muscle was in good non frayed condition with a complete tear. Early Thursday morning I had double incision suture surgery (no endobutton) with a hard cast for a week and a brace limiting extension to 45 degrees for week 2. No pain post op and i just used the pain killers to sleep when the cast itched me. Scariest thing was the blocker used in surgery - couldn't move my fingers for 24 hours (what a relief when it came back).

    After 2 weeks, I only had to use the brace at 20 degree limitation for protection (outside, crowds and sleeping). Started PT after 2 weeks with immediate stretching and strengthening (curls one pound progressing to 8 pounds over the next 4 weeks). Strengthening via suppination/pronation comes later. Sounded aggressive from what I've seen on the web but the surgeon said the muscle was in good condition/good repair and these days the protocol is more accelerated/aggressive (he said some of his younger partners are even more aggressive and he's in the middle). Although wrist movement one week post op (twisting pronation/sup.) was limited, it came back over the month.

    Bottom line is as everyone here says; get the surgery done quickly (within 2 weeks). Don't trust the ER or general health practitioners with limited experience with muscle/joints. A friend of mine had it done 3 - 4 weeks later, and while he ultimately fully recovered (he's a lifter), his recovery/pain was considerably longer, and his quest for a surgeon was more difficult.

  18. Hi guys. I ruptured my left distal bicep tendon 8 days ago. I did it boxing, when I threw a straight haymaker hook for distance I hyperextended my left arm and got a dislocating and corking sensation in my elbow straight away. I had surgery on Tuesday, 5 days post op. I'm now in a plaster cast for 2 weeks and then a plastic brace for 4 weeks. I work in a police tactical team and I need full use and strength in my arm to get back on the frontline. My wife is also having our second son in 6 weeks so the timing of this injury is pretty to say the least. My diagnosis was via MRI scan and the report stated it was a complete tear in which the tendon had retracted 3 cm from its insertion spot. However I did not have any retraction of my actual bicep muscle. 2 quick questions. Will I be able to hold my new son safely in 6 weeks and when would it be expected I could start shooting practise again. I know I won't be able to go on operations for a while but during my recovery range time should keep me saine. All the best everyone and I hope you and I all have a speedy recovery! Chin up! SK Australia

  19. Hi All,
    I am also a water-skiing victim of a distal bicep rupture, the last ski of the day at the end of a week long water-skiing holiday. Must have been a bit fatigued cause the boat pulled – I pulled against it and pop! I knew I had done something but just thought it was a pulled muscle. I bruised up a lot, almost from armpit to wrist but just iced it still thinking pulled muscle. This happened on the 5th Jan 2013, like a moron I didn’t listen to anyone telling me to get it looked at and instead just went back to work but that was a real struggle – no ability to lift or rotate my right arm (not good for a glazier!).
    So I finally went to see my GP who told me what I had done and made an appointment for me the next day with a surgeon. The surgeon made a few calls and I was operated on the next day which was the 7th Feb, almost 5 weeks after I ruptured tendon. I needed a tendon graft that they took from my leg. The recovery has been pretty good – 4 weeks in and I am getting reasonable good rotation and am about to start physio to get some strength back. The thing that I do have is a really sore thumb – like I have just hit it with a hammer (all the time!) The doctor tells me it due to the nerves being pushed around in the operation and it should calm down. I wish I knew about the hook test to feel for the tendon when I first did it, then I would have done something about getting it repairs before 5 weeks!
    Speedy recovery to all
    GA from Australia

    1. You are a glazier too??

  20. What do you think about L-GLUTAMINE to help with recovery i am in the 5th week after surgery im out of the cast it does hurts to move but i do lift things from 5 to 15 pounds it was a complete rupture . most of my pain now from my shoulder for some reason but i have numbness in my forearm i dont know if he stretched my muscle in my shoulder for some reason,

  21. Hi max I'm also 5 weeks post surgery and believe glucosamine is a great product. I have been taking a 1500mg dose per day and also krill oil. Your shoulder problem is probably from lack of movement. Did you have your arm in a sling during the first few weeks? My wrist is super tight and its not budging easy I stretch and massage my arm everyday. I been seeing an occupational therapist and they have been conservatively been getting my range of movement back. Supported arm bending and lots of massage especially on the scar to break up scar tissue! Hopefully your surgeon can refer you to someone just call them even if you ask the receptionist! Good luck. Sk wa Australia

  22. hi to anyone who wants to read this this has been great reading everyones stories cheered me up i am going in for surgery 27march partial ruptured distal tendon i live and breath the ocean one could say surfing is my religion so i have been busy frecking out about time out of the water i am looking for information on how long it takes to get back in the pool swimming training or even if anyone who surfs and how long it takes before you feel strong enough to surf again i am a bit of an expert on operations for i have had plenty and do realise you need to let it heal so thats about it i will post another after op

  23. Great information...I was just told I had proximal bicep tendonitis and I'm trying to read up on it...Thanks

  24. Ken or anyone else that is watching this thread,
    I was working a side job and a steel beam got away from me and tore my distal bicep tendon. Popped loud enough that I thought I had broken a bone. Hurt worse than anything iI have ever done before. Luckily it was real cold and i got down off the ladder and realized it still worked, kind of. Got back up and finished the job the way I should have the first time. Took my time. Bad night. Even worse, no insurance. So I nursed it around for a month before my wife made me go to the ER. They didn't do anything but they did set up an appointment with an orthopedist for the next day. Surgery one week later. I have probably $15,000 in bills so far and that is not the surgeons yet. I really cant't afford to go to the PT. Anyone have their PT routines that i could look at? Doc wants me to start, but I really don't need more bills. I have been a carpenter for 23 years and my income depends on my arm working the way it is supposed to. Any ideas from anyone?

  25. My rehab post surgery.
    First 2 weeks in plaster cast and arm slung.
    Week 2-5 arm in thermo plastic brace supported arm bending with good arm.
    Week 5-6 arm out of brace normal movement of arm with no load.
    Week 6 currently 1kg weights. Bicep curls and tri cep extensions. Grip strength exercises with thero puddy. Thero bands bicep curls and tri cep extensions. 3 sets of 10 four times a day. I'm going up 500grams a week. My injury was a ruptured left distal bicep tendon which I pinged doing boxing training. Also make sure to massage your arm and scar as much as possible to break down scar tissue! Also take glucosamine and fish oil tablets to keep your joints mobile. And keep your wrist as mobile as possible because it will stiffen up a lot. Regards Sam Australia

  26. Exercises for a biceps tendon rupture
    The following exercises are commonly prescribed to patients with a biceps tendon rupture. You should discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. These can usually begin once the orthopedic specialist or physiotherapist have indicated it is safe to do so. Generally, they should be performed 2 - 3 times daily and only provided they do not cause or increase symptoms.
    Elbow Bend to Straighten
    Bend and straighten your elbow as far as possible and comfortable pain-free. Aim for no more than a mild to moderate stretch. Repeat 10 times provided there is no increase in symptoms (figure 2).

    Figure 2 – Elbow Bend to Straighten (left side)
    Elbow Supination Pronation
    Begin with your elbow at your side and bent to 90 degrees. Turn your palm up and down as far as possible and comfortable pain-free. Aim for no more than a mild to moderate stretch. Repeat 10 times provided there is no increase in symptoms (figure 3).

    Figure 3 – Elbow Supination Pronation (right side)
    Static Biceps Contraction
    Begin this exercise with your elbow at your side and bent to 90 degrees, palm up as demonstrated (figure 4). Push up against your other hand, tightening your biceps. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times as hard as possible without pain.

    Figure 4 – Static Biceps Contraction (right arm)

    Physiotherapy products for a biceps tendon rupture

  27. Hello,

    I would like to share my experience on two ruptured distal biceps tendons, one four years ago and one three years ago, both arms:

    The first was in my left arm when lifting a heavy box. It must have been from a weird move because the box was heavy but not more than what I worked out with every other day. The second was while lifting a table out of a car; same deal, not super-heavy.

    There was an audible "Pop!" (in both cases), with immediate pain and in the second case numbness in the right thumb and a few fingers for a few hours. On the first occurrence the doctor recommended no surgery due to my age and that I'm not particularly athletic (48 YO then, aeronautical engineer, bicycle, work out 3x/wk but no big sports guy). I lost a lot of strength in that arm, had elbow pain, and wondered a year later whether I'd made the right call in skipping the surgery. On the second occurrence I was prompt in getting an MRI and considering surgery. No doubt, the right arm had a blown tendon (MRI showed all wadded up in an "s" shape in my upper arm). There was no "hook-sign" in either arm at that point.

    On the second event I came very close to having surgery. I put Kaiser through the wringer, requesting second opinions, sending questions like crazy, consults w/ multiple doctors, etc. Nightmare patient. Kaiser staff and doctors were absolutely terrific throughout, gave consults, surgery pros and cons, answered questions re different surgical methods, then scheduled surgery (at my request) and were nice about it when I cancelled the night before. In the end I figured the two to five percent risk of nerve damage wasn't worth the added strength; I'd just live with it.

    It's been three years since the second rupture and I didn't have surgery on either arm.

    Here's why I'm writing: Both arms have fully recovered. I don't understand how. For the past year I have had good strength, and big, fat hook-signs. Both arms did hurt for a long time (years), lost strength (also years), but both came back. I could definitely feel weakness during workouts, and was careful to not overstress things, but as of today I think they're as good as or better than before.

    I am therefore glad I didn't have surgery. Mother Nature handled it on her own (somehow).

    Hope this helps someone.


    Jon (52 yrs old)

    1. Hello Jon,

      It is great to hear of your bicep success by taking the non-surgical option. I too ruptured my distal bicep tendon in my left arm one year ago, and did not get surgery out of fear of nerve damage. Can I ask, have your biceps shifted back to their original position, or are they retracted (if so, to what extent")?

      Best Regards,


  28. I would also like to share my tendonitis experience. I had Achilles tendonitis and it was really painful. The pain was on and off but most of the time, it lasted for 2 weeks. I've been in and out of different clinics as well, had taken dozens of painkillers, and got tired of trying new medications. I didn't know what else to do, I didn't want to trust online recommendations so talked to one of my tennis buddies who had arthritis. I know that tendonitis and arthritis are somehow the same. She told me she had stem cell treatment and it was successful (I can testify to that, I mean, she's very active in tennis and other activities that time). I tried stem cell treatment with my ortho surgeon, Dr Grossman and he scheduled me for 7 weeks therapy. Its been 15 months now and I never experienced pain anymore (I have to mention that I had fever after my last session and my tendons were swollen, it took me 2 months to get the effect of it). I just hope this will inspire other AT patients... Wish you well! :P

  29. Great Place to post!! I had surgery Feb 15, 2013 for a complete rupture of my distal bicep tendon. After 6 weeks started PT. Surgeon very conservative. After 11 weeks everything was going great. I went to scratch the back side of my back heard a pop and thought I ruptured it again. Could barely move my arm. Surgeon said I did not re rupture that the tendon was good. However I may have had scar tissue release which is causing swelling and pain and may have heterotopic ossification which is bone formation inside the tissue. Weird I know. I had almost complete full range of motion. My supination and pronation seem okay but bringing my arm up and trying to get my hand to my shoulder almost impossible and painful. Anyone out there have the same experience? Thanks so much for these great posts. I am 12 weeks post op and was hoping to start building up the muscle again. Have to wait two more weeks! Tough being patient. Thanks again!

  30. well week 7 since distal bicep surgery i i am starting on 1.5k weights the pt has had me stretching my arm up to now i have a good range of movement except supination and pronation and arm is not straight i am finding doing the weights it triggers all the muscles that have been doing nothing for the last 7 weeks and they little bit sore but it feels great feeling them fire up i have also been having acupunture
    2 times a week with massage which is helping also it is starting to feel good and i have to constantly remind myself to slow down on using my arm though out the day for the body is healing really fast everyday i think it is very important to get the shoulder going again on the bad arm side the days a flying by for it was a big shock when accident happened so the surgeon said i should be able to surf from 4-5 month so i am aiming for 4 of coarse however what this injury is teaching me take one day at a time i will post again soon give an update
    thanks todd

  31. Hi guys I'm now 3 and a bit months post op. everything seems to be going great. I have full range of movement and my pronation and supination is the same as my non injured arm. I ruptured my left distal bicep tendon on the 7 th of feb 2013 and had surgery 5 days later!
    The first 2 weeks in the full arm of plaster really sucked and was uncomfortable but I was not in any pain. The following 3 weeks I wore a thermo plastic splint with controlled bending of my arm using my master hand for support. After 2 weeks of having no splint on my arm it started to feel good as new! I highly recommend massaging your forearm and scare from week 3 onwards and taking joint food tablets like glucosamine and omega 3. After 7 weeks I could hold my newborn son no worries. I have returned to work as a police officer and have started physical training. I'm curling 5kg hand weighs in high reps 30-40 curls per set. In also doing light bench, lat pull down and tricep extensions. I'm back on the range and shooting pistol and m4 no worries. My surgeon did a great job with the anchor and screw method and my 3 cm scar is flat and soft. I'm hoping to be back to full duty by the end of June 2013. All the best! Sam Australia.

  32. Might as well add my story.

    Been doing Kettlebell workouts for 3 1/2 months and was starting to see some real positive results. I'm 48 and was in fair shape prior to starting Kettlebell. For anyone that doesn't know what Kettlebell is think bowling ball with a handle and they weigh from 8kg to 48kg and bigger. I was mostly using 16 to 20kg and we did a diverse workout of aerobics and strength exercises. I was going pretty hard with Mon, Tue, Wed,Thur workouts and a Sat morning so 5 times a week. On the day I ruptured my bicep we did our standard warm up and the first exercise was taking a medicine ball mine was 20 pounds swinging it between your legs and accelerating it up over your head and tossing it as far backwards as you could. I had tossed it 2 times and on the third time I was giving it 120% and I heard and felt a pop in the front of my elbow(note to self, limit workout effort to 110%). I had a slight twinge of pain and my arm felt immediately weak. I looked at my bicep and it was bunched up at the top of my arm, my wife who is a nurse was also in the class and came over to ask what was wrong along with the trainer and I could see by the looks in their eyes it wasn't good. We iced it and I set out the class. Later that morning I went to the ER, I had already done enough internet looking and along with the wifes medical training knew I had a full ruptured bicep tendon. If you are unsure the hook test is a pretty good indicator. At the ER the Doc grabbed my hand and asked me to keep him from twisting my hand with his, which I was able to do, but this guy was no Arnold so maybe he was taken back that I still had so much residual strength that it couldn't be fully torn, they discharged me with paperwork saying it was a sprain.....they were wrong! I followed up with an Ortho on Tuesday and they took one look and said yup Distal Bicep Rupture and scheduled me for surgery last Monday (5-13-13). The surgeon did the Endobutton and I asked him to use the interferance screw if he could which he did infact perform.

  33. The surgery must have went well as I slept thru it :^) I did get a nerve block and really didn't like it at all. I hated having no feeling or control of my fingers all the way to my shoulder for almost 24 hours. My fingers swelled and got pretty hot. I was casted in a 1/2 cast and ace bandaged from my fingers to my shoulder. I was scheduled to have my cast removed on 5-24-13, however as I lost some of my stuffing the cast was starting to bug me so I talked them into seeing me today (5-22-13)and had the cast removed. This is the interesting part as I was already to be put into a limited movement arm brace and the Doc said "We don't do that anymore" and told me not to straighten my arm (bending was ok) use my sling when the arm isn't being supported by a desk, etc., don't lift anything, normal daily routine is OK with actions that don't cause pain and come see him in a month to see how I'm healing and look at getting PT started!

    I'm a little bummed out that there isn't any PT for a month (although I might follow some professional rehab routines that I found after another week of healing).

    Things I experienced that may or may not be of interest.

    I had almost no pain at the time of the rupture or for the week leading up to the surgery. I used my arm a lot in the 9 days prior to getting surgery done as I knew I would have limited use afterwards. I did ice the arm on a number of times.

    I had almost no bruising and minor swelling, so don't let these items fool you if you are unsure if you have ruptured your medical treatment.

    After surgery other than the nerve blocked arm I have had very little pain, maybe a dull pain but easily handled by asprin.

    Do use your sling as I learned that your casted arm is heavy and the worst pain I did experience was at my shoulder due to muscle strain from holding up the weight of my arm and cast ....I did take a couple of flexeril and a tylenol 3 to sleep thru the night.

    And finally ..... man I am glad to be typing with 2 hands!

    So thats my story. I wish all of us the best of luck in our recovery and hope we come out of this stronger and wiser.

    1. I would be concerned about you moving the arm in your sleep. I am at week 6 tomorrow and that will be my first night sleeping with no splint.

    2. Follow-up
      I had my 6 week post-op Doctors appointment. I have full range of motion and the Doctor indicated no PT was necessary, he has told me that I can move up to the 5 to 10 pound range for lifting. In the last 4 weeks I have tried to behave with my arm, but since it wasn't in a brace I pretty much ditched the sling after about a week of on and off use of it. I did go watch some friends race and as I wasn't able to support my arm with a desk or something I used my sling for the day. I did ask the Doc when I could go back to working out and was told at least 5 more months! He did however say I could go back to Sports Car racing as I told him I need to make a race in roughly a month from now to have any chance at going to the National Championship in the fall.

    3. I suspect this will be my final update. I attended my first SCCA road race after a 5 year absence last weekend 7-13/14-13 roughly 2 months after my surgery. I finished 1st and 2nd in my race group and my arm held up very well, the car was very well behaved so I didn't have to wrench on it which I'm sure helped a lot. I still shy away from any extreme lifting with my repaired arm keeping weight below 40# and will continue to do so until the Doctor says I'm released from restrictions. I'm not anxious to re-injure myself, but I did want to get back to some resemblance of my former activities. For anyone that has had this injury it is a PIA but it is not the end of the road, put your head down to get through it, but keep your chin up as it will get better! Good Luck.....and stop at a 110% :^)

  34. This is a great post. Here is my story. I was moving my kayak and when sitting it down, while holding palms up, I heard a pop and felt a sharp sensation of pain. Unfortunately I did not have insurance at the time but did have it 5 days later. On the 6th day I saw an Ortho doctor and he confirmed my torn distal tendon. Also, unfortunately I am out of town for work and need to have the surgery here in Indy before I return home because of the time. I will be having surgery this Tuesday which will be day 10. I have had no pain since the pop and as of today, my bruising is almost gone. I have full range of motion and can supinate my hand with no issues but I can not apply any pressure or lift any real weight. I almost 2nd guessed my diagnosis until I read some of the posts here. Thanks to all who contributed. I am a little bummed since we just bought a new house and are getting ready to move in but I wont be able to do anything. I will update after my surgery.

  35. Surgery yesterday went fine. I actually got out of recovery 1 hour early because I woke up 15 minutes after the surgery extremely coherent. I had the nerve block done so I was completely numb from my fingers to by shoulder and had no pain. I was not casted. Instead my arm is wrapped in cotton bandage material from my hand to my shoulder and that is wrapped with ace bandage. My arm is in a sling and apply ice pack to the soft side of the repair. Now 15 hours after, I can wiggle my fingers and could hold a to-go coffee in my hand. Still no pain, surely do to the block. Nonetheless, I have been taking pain meds since 4 hours after the surgery and at 4 hour intervals. The doctor recommended this to stay ahead of the pain the fact that the meds they gave would struggle to remove the pain if I felt it prior to taking the pills.

  36. The pain medicine prescribed was Hydroco/acetamin (Norco), 325 mg. I was also given Phenergan, 25 mg, in case of nausea but have not needed it. So far I am very pleased.

  37. hey this i jimmy, 40 years old, tore my right distal bicep head dead lifting an old deck. heard a sizzle then enormous crack like a dowel snap. kinda passed out, went to er waste of time. mri showed it exploded like a mop head. had button surgery 7 days after with small incision and flex wrap off 10 days after surgery, stitch tips removed an full extension achieved. i was very pleased with range of motion, still spasms tightness an numbness in wrist and hand but to be expected, been icing an stretching daily, sling 30 percent of day and while sleeping to avoid radical movements, strength pt to start in 4 weeks and a bit nervous. did the pain meds for 7 days and hated it bad reactions coming off pills. long road ahead but it is what it is mentally an physically. keep strong and smart moving forward.

  38. Thanks to all of you! This blog has been more helpful than anything else I have read on the net. I have been upset, disappointed, and concerned at different times for different things but y'all have addressed most, if not all of my concerns here...
    Well my story is somewhat unique: I first ruptured my distal biceps tendon during a Spartan Race back on March 24, 2013. It wasn't a complete tear, so I didn't have the Popeye muscle and the hook test proved my tendon was still partly intact. When it first popped, I was attempting to vault the 8-foot wall. I had pulled up and was maneuvering to throw my legs over (right side). The added pressure was too much. I heard and FELT the pop in my right forearm/elbow. Actually, I thought I had dislocated my elbow until I fell off the obstacle and had a chance to look. I still finished the course, but had to do burpee penalties for the remaining “pulling” obstacles, due to the pain. Afterward, since everything appeared to be physically in the proper place, I waited to see a doctor for a couple of weeks. In fact, I only did then, because even lifting a cup of coffee was somewhat painful. She prescribed me a month’s worth of anti-inflammatory meds and sent me on my way. This proved to be ineffective of course…
    I'm 47-years old and an avid weightlifter. Since I was unable to do curls, at all, for the next couple of months (used to curling 155 lbs. for 10 reps), I had begun a mild depression. So I decided to see an orthopedic elbow specialist. I researched the best in the area, and made an appointment. He quickly diagnosed me as a partial biceps tendon tear and the MRI would prove that to be an accurate diagnosis.
    My first surgery (yep, first) was the Endobutton with the arm block, on June 12. It went fairly well, except I freaked out with the arm block. Being a little bit claustrophobic, the paralysis of the right side of my diaphragm caused me great anxiety for the next 18 hours. After that, I was having much of the same experience as the rest of you.
    THEN one week after surgery, I caught my 2-year old son who was falling off the couch. It felt like a searing poker had been shoved into my arm. There was a great deal of pain, and another pop… Crap. Back to the doctor the next day… He ex-rayed it (which doesn’t show soft tissue) and felt like it was ok. However, at my first PT appointment (about 2 weeks post-surgery), I was able to extend my arm almost completely. My PT said, “That’s extraordinary!” Long story-short, over the next 4 weeks, I kept telling the doctor, nurses, and PT’s that I was concerned about my bicep being too high on my arm. All kept telling me that it was just due to muscle wasting. Eventually, they were tired of hearing my concerns, so we did another MRI. I was right. I had snapped the “strings” but they were still attached—just very loose. In fact, the surgeon said I had 3 cm of string between the end of my tendon and the hole in my radius.
    Soooo… after just being released from wearing my “cyborg arm,” I was back to surgery for the second time, exactly 6 weeks from the first (July 24). Now I am back in the “cyborg arm” and dreading every minute of it… BUT I am much more careful this time! Ha! I normally believe in pushing the envelope, but I am decidedly going easy this time… Oh yeah, I opted NOT to get the arm block this time and quite glad of it. Recovering from surgery was much smoother and easier. I did have quite a bit of pain for the few hours, but still quite happy with my choice.
    Good luck to all of you! Thanks for sharing your stories. And thanks for allowing me to share mine…

  39. UPDATE - Flag football injury guy here! 10 months post op, and I spent the day hauling and stacking landscaping blocs (45 lbs each). Made me think back to this blog and I thought I would share that I am nearly 100%. My arm feels tight sometimes, and if there is any discomfort it is in the forearm. The bicep size is the same as the other but still lacks that deep holding strength. I have not done any intense weight training or conditioning, so progress has been slow, but I am not inhibited in my day to day life at all. The Surgeon told me it would be about a year for a 100% recovery, and I think he was spot on. I am thankful for no nerve damage and the 100 range of motion.

  40. Great site. I am male, 53, tore my right distal bicep trying to flip a 550 lb tire. Yes, I am into strength sports and crossfit and am a former powerlifter. I had flipped that tire dozens of times before but for some reason, that was not my day - July 23rd, 2013. I had surgery August 2, 2013. He did the endo button technique of reattachment and never put me in a cast. I hated that nerve block thing though the day of and after the surgery. I worked from home for a week after the surgery and now, almost 6 weeks after surgery, I have full range of motion of my whole arm and fingers and everything, even supination and twisting. I go back on 11/6 (it is only 9/10 now) to begin physical therapy. But as he will see, I can already lift coffee pots full of water (5-6 lbs), and other careful movements, but have not begun any curls with dumbbells or anything yet. I long to do burpees again and thrusters and heavy clean and jerks. Am starting training today to run a hal fmarathon in February. That should keep my mind off the lifting training. Thanks for putting this page together Ken and sharing your experiences with us!!! I was happy to find it and read about all the common experiences we have with this injury.

  41. I’m so happy to have stumbled on your blog Ken. Thank you. It has helped me emotionally a great deal to read other people sharing a similar experience. I hope I too can help someone in the future with the same unfortunate circumstance.

    My bicep rupture occurred on Nov. 24, 2013 while riding my bicycle. On was on my way home via the long route I had done hundreds of times as part of my normal training. For a few brief seconds I looked away to check my tail light and the next moment I had clipped the chain link fence on my left side. It brought me to a rather abrupt stop. In the immediate aftermath I was concerned with my face which was bleeding since the top of the fence was at the elevation of my face. It wasn’t until 10 minutes later with help from strangers, I was being asked what happened and where my injuries were that I felt my left arm. Even through my multiple layers I could immediately tell my arm wasn’t right - my bicep had disappeared.

    Beginning with my ambulance ride to the ER I told everyone that my arm didn’t feel right. It was tingly and slightly painful in addition to the visual abnormality. Finally, the doctor who sewed up my face gave me the bad news. It took a lot of prompting however before my “Popeye” arm was diagnosed by him.

    My wife was instrumental in the next few days calling doctors and trying to get an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. In her research she knew I needed surgery and had a limited window of opportunity without more consequences. I saw a surgeon about 3 days after the accident and tentatively had surgery scheduled for the next Tuesday. It wasn’t until that point the full impact of what happened and what was needed sunk in. I guess I was naive in thinking that maybe a simple procedure would clear this right up.

    I had surgery approximately 9 days after my accident on Dec. 3, 2013. The worst pain I experienced was waking up from surgery and having the sensation in my hand return. I had the nerve block and I would say did work very well. The pain in my hand / arm was temporary. I didn’t need to take my pain meds (Oxycodon) very often and only for the first few days. I primarily have used them for getting a good nights sleep and letting my body feel fully relaxed.

    Compared to others’ stories, I think I went the “traditional” route. The doctor I went to has been in practice for many years. He did not use any fancy hardware or anchors but reattached with multiple sutures. I have an ‘M’ scar that extends from above my inner elbow to approx. 4” down my arm. My surgeon’s name is Mark so I hope there’s no coincidence?! I started with a plaster cast for two weeks and transitioned to a thermo plastic brace that I have to wear all the time. Lately however, I need it less and less when I’m not in public or somewhere I may get injured. I have been attending PT for about three weeks. I expect to start lifting weights in a week or two?! I have almost full pronation / supination and can have my arm stretched to a full 180 degrees. I have found that massage at the scar site and arm has helped a lot. I highly recommend doing this as it has helped minimize the numbness I have experienced.

    I still have more questions as my curiosity continues to grow since the accident. I plan to post an update on my progress. A big thanks to everyone who has shared their story and I wish everyone a healthy and happy recovery.

    1. hi greg, I just tore my distal bicep tendon on Thursday and was wondering if I could ask you a few questions. thanks is my regular email. I live in allen park, mi

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  43. Hi, firstly I'm in the UK!
    Had the operation 2 days ago so its all pretty fresh. I have a half cast fitted and am keeping arm in a sling. The pain comes and goes and is bearable. I keep my fingers moving all the time to keep blood flow. Many thanks for your story I will take your suggestions on board.
    Best of luck for the futur

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  45. Hey there, thanks for your post. I wish I found this 5 months ago when I just went through it. It was agony and very silly, but I like so many others here is very active and rely on my gift of strength daily and enjoy getting the muscles going.
    I wouldnt bore you with my story of how and the agony I was in after surgery and definitely wont bore you with the radial nerve damage I suffered from which I still haven't recovered (surgeons fault).

    But my issue is now that after 5 months of taking it easy and sometimes pushing the limits a bit, I have finally managed to hurt my arm again. A sudden movement had sent like an electrical shock through my arm and pain like no other, yet I can still feel where the tendon runs into the plug next to the scar, but around the tendon its very swollen where it would be join the plug into the bone.
    There is no bruising, which is a good sign I imagine as in my mind it means I havent ripped it from the plug otherwise there would be internal bleeding I assume? But my arm is very sore for last two days, the range is about 90% now if taken slowly and it feels like Ive put myself back at least 3 months in recovery if I havent actually ripped it off again.

    I really dont want to go through the trauma of the surgery etc again and having splints etc yet again, and least of all risk of nerve injury by the surgeons again.

    So I dont know what to do. Do I give it a week and see how I get on? Do I go back? IS it torn again? Or was it just a very serious warning to take it easier, but a warning only.

    What is suggested here?

    Like I say 1) no bruising, 2) pain, 3) tendon can be felt where it has always been felt going into bone, 4) the plug can be felt and the tender pain of pressing on it. but 4) swelling around the tendon, 5) some pain at bottom of bicep, 6)limited range, 7) have I said pain before? 8) I can still hold objects in my hand, just sore.

    Thanks for listening

  46. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  47. my name is JULIE MATTIE. When i read a testimony online on how dr.drust the great and most powerful spell caster online of great ultimate temple, i was wondering how can this be true, Because many has failed me in the past without any result from them. I just let the post pass by and move on the forum. To my notice under again, Some person posted and said tested and trusted spell caster. After reading through the mail it was this same she was talking about. So i have no other option than to really check up how he works.I was totally devastated when my beloved lover left me. It was like my entire world vanishing into sorrow and pain. I know it sounds weird but out of all the spell casters I contacted, he was the only one to give me that impression of being so true and trustful. More than his words,He brought my lover back and he made all my wishes come true. He is now loyal, pays attention to me, he offers me flowers every Sunday, and we often go out at the cinema and the restaurant. I will be forever thankful for turning my life from hell to heaven! i believe who need help should get to him for help. May God continue to use you to save broken relationship. ( or tel:+2348156885231) to get the problem solve, Because there is no spell caster online like him. his website:

  48. Are still answering questions about this?

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  51. I'm doing rehabilitation following Distal Bicep Tendon Surgery, and am having trouble making a fist. I am ten days out of the month-long cast and although I can move my fingers, I cannot grip anything smaller than a grapefruit. My wrist is a bit swollen and the wrist feels like it will break if I try to get my hand in a thumbs up position, although it is getting better. Any similar cases? I know the cast was on tight, and my forearm often felt swollen, but will I regain my ability to make a fist and grip small objects? I am 52 and active, and live in Japan. The surgery was done here.

    Very conservative approach...single incision, large Z scar, 4 weeks in a plaster cast, currently seeing my PT once a week for basic wrist and elbow stretches. Big worry is the lack of finger-curling and grip strength. I squeeze a grip ball several times a day which gives a little added range but after an hour it goes back into the position approximately holding a golf ball but no further. After doing this even for a few minutes, the swelling around the wrist and on the back of the hand builds up, making it difficult to anything else. The blood in the hand does not flow well, and whenever it feels heavy and changes color darker than my good hand, I raise it above my head until the blood drains. I can outstretch my fingers without any problems. I cannot make a number one or a peace sign...and doing this is super painful in the wrist tendon area. My biggest worry is that this is a complication from swelling of the wrist while the cast on and wondering if and when I will regain the use of my hand. Am hoping for someone with a similar case and a positive outcome!

  52. I have a story.. i read every post after I ruptured my distal bicept tendon. I owe it to the site to state my rehab and success.

    I am 37, my job is a fireman. I need my arms to work to feed my family. I was working on a deck at the lake, when I lifted the corner to square it up, I felt a sudden snap and my bicept was balled up near my sholder. I knew I was hurt pretty bad, I had a awful pain that subsided very quickly, then nothing more then a gut renching feeling that I am seriously broken.

    I slide the bicept muscle back into place and had my wife splint it with a dish towel. We started on the 90 min drive back to the city and to the hospital. 10 mins into the drive we hit a pothole, and when I flinched my.bicept again recoiled back towards my sholder. This is when my wife called the ambulance because I passes out.

    When I reached the hospital, the doctor made an assessment on me. He asked me to make a fist and turn my wrist like I would turn a screwdriver. This is the first time I had a good look at my injury. It was obviously deformed and left a abnormal low dent where my bicept used to rest.

    I was an easy diagnoses and required surgury if I was ever able to function normal again. No brainer for me and they slotted me for surgery later that week.

    Surgury was twice as long as the doc said it would be. He told me he would use a button method, but he was unable to pull the tendon back and a tack to the right spot. He then cut me open on the underside to complete the repair. He said although it was not as planned he expected a complete recovery.

    Lots of pain. life sucked tryn to live using my left for everything.
    I wore my splint as instructed my doc and at six weeks post op I went for rehab. I did everything they said..... exactly.... and by 12 weeks post opp I was out of sling and back light duties. (alarm room and inspections)

    By week 24 I was back to regular duties... not nearly as strong as I used to be... but gettn by.

    At the 9 month mark... Im benching 235 pounds.... I'm able to do dips pushup and dips..just like I used to before my injury.. my arm curls are.week er on my right arm still.. but not sure if it's more of a mental block, more than week nest.... my bicept does bother me a bit but I've found a QRay (megnetic braclet) makes a difference.

    All in all... I feel super lucky to have the great staff that.fixed me and got me back to work.

    Mostly, I owe everything to my wife who supported me looked after me and pushed me to succeed and work to get me back to the man I used to be. If yr in the same boat, the first thing you will need is a someone to support u to work through everything u will go through.

    When the days get really bad, and ur not sure you will ever be normal again, lean on these people for support give it time, and follow yr doctors directions...

    It will work out in time...

  53. I ruptured my bicep distal tendon while skiing at Purgatory. Just did a pole plant with my left arm extended a bit too far as I headed down a decent mogul run and pop, I felt this sharp pain in my left arm. I stopped, thought I just pulled something, and skied another two hour, just a bit less aggressively (I am 52). But, when I took my shirt off in the truck, yikes, popeye! The nurse practitioner on the mountain was great. Her husband did it several months back and she was both sympathetic and informative.

    So, within 2 weeks I had surgery back home in Boston. Getting surgery is a bit of an effort in the medical system (I got a second opinion two from the guy who fixes Patriots' biceps) but worth getting it down quickly. Mobility and pain before the surgery wasn't bad -- the psychological effect of having my bicep detached was the worst part. Kind of threw me a bit.

    The surgery was totally fine but for that miserable arm block which is totally weird and creepy. But that's only 24 hours worth of weirdness. Had to figure out how to put on my shirts (carefully) and how to sleep with various pillows to be comfortable and keep it elevated. The key the first 72 hours was keeping it elevated and iced. I didn't do that as much the first 24 but started after and it helped.

    Recovery has been highly predictable and these posts are frankly better than my doctor at helping me know what to expect (great surgeons don't have to be great communicators I suppose). As noted, write and forearm pain is the bigger problem. Mobility came back pretty quickly. Still hurts at 6 weeks to flex at the top of the flex with a hammer curl wrist position. I started cardio within one week and though it's annoying to treadmill and bike in a sling, it's worth it. Started back cycle spinning in class at 4.5 weeks (probably not what my doctor would have advised) and lifting 2.5 pounds a bit at 5 weeks and 5 at 6. So far, so very good.

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  55. I had surgery jan 5 2018 i still cant extend my middle ring and pinky fingers but i can extend my index and thumb is that ok will it heal?

  56. YoOull be ok in due time, rest, take it easy let the healing process take its course. I cant stress this enough. I wanted to go too fast too soon and hurt myself many times this way, so just take it easy.
    In my op they gave me radial nerve damage, so my hand didnt work at all for 7-9 months, so much so I had to learn to do everything left handed, even eating,but this also healed in due time.
    If you can get your hands on a tens machine that sends electrical signals through, then do that, I believe this helped my nervous system to repair.
    BUT again, really, just go with it, it will heal, youll be ok.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks I now can extend ring and pinky but still having problems with middle finger and extending fingers and wrist at same time is very hard still why is that?