Author Topic: Recovery from distal bicep surgery  (Read 6774 times)

Offline ianhibbert83

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Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« on: December 20, 2011, 10:32:44 AM »
First of all can I just say how helpful and informative I have found this site and how grateful I am to all the guys who have posted to let us newbies know there is light at the end of the tunnel!
I am a 28yr old firefighter from Liverpool UK and i live a very active life. I do a lot of weight training, circuit training and HIIT cardio training I have also been practising Krav Maga for the last 5 yrs. On the 19/11/11 I was participating in a charity boxing match for help for heroes a UK based charity set up to support wounded soldiers returning from duty. In true rocky fashion in the dying seconds of the final round i had my opponent on the ropes I landed 2 right hooks to his head and what followed was a strange cramping sensation in my right arm. I tried to shake it off dismissing it as cramp when i was man handled into the corner by the ref urging me to look at my arm! Sure enough i looked down to see my right bicep balled up under my armpit like a tennis ball.DOH!!!

Once diagnosed surgery was promptly scheduled for 23/11/11, 4 days post injury. I had the titanium anchor and suture procedure and have a 2" incision across the crease of my arm. Post surgery Pain was pretty intense once the nerve block wore off and persisted for 2 or 3 days after surgery, luckily the weapons grade pain killers did their job well! After hearing all the horror stories of nerve damage/numbness etc the first thing i did on coming round was move my fingers and rotate my wrist and was relieved to find everything in working order. The arm was set at 90 degrees in a solid cast with sling and remained that way for 2 wks.

07/12/11 Cast removed, wound healing well, arm set in range of motion brace locked at 80 degrees extention but allowing for full flexion. Stern warning from surgeon no lifting under any circumstances unless i wanted to join the back of the queue for another op!

12/12/11 First physio session no pt just a discussion with the physio as about moving the arm within the confines of the brace. Physio approved return to the gym to train legs/abs and cardio within reason!!! I have now been back in the gym training since the 08/12/11 mainly cardio and machine based leg workouts including smith machine. (not ideal i know but its better than nothing)

19/12/11 ROM Brace opened to 45 degrees ext arm very nearly straight now! I have tried to maintain as much range of motion as possible throughout by performing daily activities such as washing, brushing teeth and shaving my head very carefully without the brace. I am now able to move my arm normally in pretty much every plane of motion albeit very cautiously!

20/12/11 Second PT still no exercises but physio cleared me to begin removing the brace and flexing and extending the arm assisted by the other arm if necessary.

If there are any firefighters or other professionals who have physically demanding jobs who have overcome this injury and returned to work i would be glad to hear from you regarding your recovery time for a full return to duty. Also any fighters/martial artists out there how long was it before u returned to your respective disciplines as i am already itching to return although i realise this is a long way off!

I will continue posting on my progress over the coming wk/months
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline Tommyhach

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2011, 11:14:33 AM »
Hey ian,im from west mids uk and had my op on 11th dec,seems like your making decent progress with movement,my cast comes off on the 28th cant wait!!i have a demanding physical job working for national grid so occasionaly work with the fire service on jobs so i know how demanding your work is
I too would like to know if similar 'hands on' workers fully recovered
Best of luck and merry christmas
  • Hospital: Dudley,West mids,ENGLAND
  • Repair Method: Single incision...3 anchors
  • Surgeon: Dr Butt
  • Surgery Date: 11th Dec 2011
Follow me @tommyhach on twitter

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2011, 12:21:26 PM »
Hi Tommy , cheers for the Xmas wishes same to you and yours. I hope that cast isn't driving you too mad, I have to admit by the time mine came off i was ready to rip it off with my teeth!!! I had pretty much stopped using the sling by the end of the first week as it kept giving me a crick in the neck and to be honest i think this helped with maintaining ROM. As far as training is concerned I'm just trying to look on it as an opportunity to change things up and don't forget as long as you're training legs heavy your not going to disappear! Good luck and Keep us posted on your progress
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline Tommyhach

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2011, 12:55:33 PM »
Cheers..yeah its getting annoying,i take the sling and straps around my cast off when sitting down its just too awkward,cant wait for my arm to breath again!going to ask the doc if i can train one handed and do cardio/legs..need to do something ill be wasting away
Ill keep you posted
  • Hospital: Dudley,West mids,ENGLAND
  • Repair Method: Single incision...3 anchors
  • Surgeon: Dr Butt
  • Surgery Date: 11th Dec 2011
Follow me @tommyhach on twitter

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 12:26:01 PM »
Hi guys just an update on my progress. I am now just past 7 wks post op and I have full ROM and zero pain. I have been back in the gym since the cast came off 2 wks post op, training legs, cardio and abs. I am squatting heavy all be it carefully and my cardio is as good as it ever was. I began Shuls curling program at 6 wks post op and am currently on 2kg dumbells 100 reps 3 to 5 times a day, I have left out the preacher curls as they seem to cause a little pain( not the good kind!!!) Other than that the arm is feeling stronger everyday and my main battle is fighting the urge to rush things! I haven't lost much size and if anything my legs are bigger and stronger than ever due to all the extra attention they are receiving.Haha.  Supplements wise i have been taking glucosamine msm and chondroitin and Cissus quadrangularis and my regular whey protein. I have tried to increase protein consumption in the hope of speeding recovery. I have my 8 wk meeting with the consultant next Friday and i will post again then.
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 01:32:07 PM »
Hi again guys just another quick update on my recovery. I am 9 weeks post op on Wed this wk and things seem to be moving along nicely. I had my 8 wk post op consultation last wk and the Dr has washed his hands of me haha. He said there was nothing more they could do for me and that the responsibility was now mine to carefully continue the recovery and rebuilding process. I then had a meeting with the physio who pretty much said the same thing! Im starting to think I might smell?! I ran Shuls curling program past the physio and he said that it seemed fine but to take things very carefuly! Both the dr and physio seemed happy for me to return to full duties at wrk at 12-16wks PO depending on how i feel at the time. Although my bicep seems fine I am experianceing slight elbow pain possibly the on set of tennis elbow? Is this something that others out there have experianced? I am proceeding very cautiously and am still at the stage where every slight twinge or phantom pain brings me out in a cold sweat and has my heart jumping out of my chest! The doc said i am fine to begin pressing motions within reason but as always the real battle is not to over do things. Does anyone know if applying heat/ice or both is benificial and if so in what order and for what duration?
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline Tommyhach

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2012, 04:36:15 PM »
Sounds like your recovering well..Your 3weeks ahead of me but i was told by a pro bodybuilder to heat before training and ice after regarding tennis elbow,elbow supports can also help but not sure if a recovering bicep should be strapped as it needs to move to get back to norm,best of luck
  • Hospital: Dudley,West mids,ENGLAND
  • Repair Method: Single incision...3 anchors
  • Surgeon: Dr Butt
  • Surgery Date: 11th Dec 2011
Follow me @tommyhach on twitter

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2012, 10:02:13 AM »
Hi guys hope everyone is doing well. I am now 10wks PO and am very happy with the way things are progressing. I am up to curling 6.5kg for 100 reps 3 times a day 1 set standard curls,1 set concentration curls and 1 set hammer curls. I am roughly following shuls curling protocol but i have been slightly less aggressive in increasing the weights. I have had no physio as I had full ROM early on and and the physio said there wasn't much he could do for me. Leg training and cardio is still going well. I am now pressing with both free weights and machines. Military press 35kg, flat bench 35kg, dumbell shoulder press 10kg also press ups sets of 12. I am also starting pulling exercises again very slowly deadlifts with hook grip 30kg, lat pull down 15kg and barbell row with 25kg. I am set to return to wrk in 2wks providing i can pass the medical in a wks time.
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline Judas Priest Fan

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2012, 11:55:25 AM »
Hi, those are some pretty serious weights considering youre at 10 weeks PO. I dont think I could do 100 curls with 6.5 kg and Im at 16 weeks. But you are MUCH younger (Im 46) and MUCH stronger.

Are you hoping to be back at full duty at 12 weeks? That would be amazing! 12 weeks was kind of a turning point for me; I started to feel "healthy". But I was lacking a LOT of strenght at 12 weeks and still am. Good luck on your further recovery.
  • Repair Method: Revo Anker
  • Surgery Date: 12 Oct 11
Date of injury: 30 SEP 2011
OP: 12 OCT 2011
cast removed at 6 weeks PO

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2012, 02:42:25 PM »
I think my relative youth has definitely helped in my recovery so far,this coupled with the fact the surgeon seems to have done a good job and not caused me any lasting damage has really helped. Due to the fact I had full ROM pro and supp from about wk 3 I have been able to continue with cardio and heavy leg training which I believe to has been the defining factor. I have been back working light duties since jan the 1st and the consultant has given me the green light to return to full duty at 3 months post op. I am under no illusions that there is still a long road to full recovery ahead but I am determined to keep pushing within my limits listening to what my body is telling me. Right now fear is my friend it's keeping me from doing anything stupid! ;)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 03:10:59 PM by ianhibbert83 »
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2012, 11:26:29 AM »
Hi all hope everyone is progressing well just thought id put up a quick pic to show the difference between right and left arms, the right being the repaired one at almost 11 weeks PO. I didn't really notice until looking at the pic but the entire right hand side of my upper body appears to be slightly lower than the left presumably due to atrophy. I will post with more detailed progress at the 12wk mark stay healthy everyone.
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline kiM

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2012, 04:59:39 AM »
Right now fear is my friend it's keeping me from doing anything stupid! ;)

Excellent quote!!!  I may borrow?!!  (or at least follow!!)
  • Repair Method: one incision endobutton
  • Surgery Date: 12-20-11

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2012, 10:00:54 AM »
Feel free it's about time I said something of interest! Haha. You know the old adage if you give 1000 monkeys 1000 typewriters and an infinite amount of time they will produce shakespeares works! Hope your recovery is going well.
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012, 11:25:41 AM »
Hi guys and girls,
I am now a couple of days past 12 wks PO. As before i still have zero pain and 100% sup and pro. Have been progressing my rehab by myself as per instructions of Physiotherapist. I have continued loosly following shuls curling protocol but cut down the reps from 100 to 50 as i felt i was beginning to feel the onset of tendinitis in both repaired and normal arm due to the high number of reps.Since dropping to 50 reps i have had no such problems and the condition of the repaired bicep has continued to improve. I am currently on 7.5kg for regular curls,concentration curls and hammer curls and due to increase to 10kg next wk. I am still lifting heavy for legs and pushing the cardio hard. Pressing strength is returning quickly and i find myself fighting not to lift more every session. I am flat benching 70kg for 15 reps 4 sets, Military press is at 40kg 15 reps 4 sets, Bent over row working up from just the bar to 40kg, Tricep dumbell ext 10kg 15 reps 4 sets, seated row close grip upto 30 kg and deadlifting overhand upto 50kg 10 reps. I am also still using machines for shoulders and chest. I have started to incorporate my normal circuit style exercises back into my routine such as tuck jumps,box jumps, burpees and also kicking the heavy bag. In all gym work i am listening to what my body is telling me and I feel my body is responding well to the unfamiliar respect it is receiving from me!ha ha. I had my evaluation with the fire service Dr and passed all physical tests to return to full duty as per the original recommendation of the surgeon. I joined in with a training exercise putting up ladders weighing 100kgs as part of a 4 man crew and handling cutting gear which is both heavy and cumbersome and encountered no problems. I am icing my arm at the end of most days just because i figure it can't do any harm;) I Hope everyone else is progressing well
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11

Offline ianhibbert83

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Re: Recovery from distal bicep surgery
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2012, 10:00:54 AM »
Hi all, I have just hit 16wks PO today and thought id check in with my progress so far. First of all I have stopped shuls curling protocol as i felt the volume was too high for me(feeling of onset tennis elbow due to over use). I am curling 10kg for 12 reps 3 times a day alternating between standard curls and hammers in a very controlled and comfortable manner. I believe doing shuls curling protocol in the early stages with light weight has been invaluable to my recovery so far and id urge anyone new to the forum to check it out. I returned to full duties at wrk at 12wks as per docs recommendations and have had no problems thus far. Since returning to wrk i have attended a variety of incidents including RTC's(Road traffic collisions), House fires, lock outs requiring climbing and the use of heavy ladders and several breathing apparatus exercises involving heavy manual handling. Although I am still cautious of the repair I have found as long as i lift in a controlled manner my arm seems to be happy. I have taken what i feel to be an aggressive yet sensible approach to my recovery and so far it seems to be paying off. I am lifting well in the gym and i would say I'm around 80% in most things with the obvious exceptions of exercises such as clean and press and deadlifts. That said I am deadlifting 90kg overhand for 8 reps with ease and with no discomfort, bent over barbell row is at 70kg for 8 reps slow and controlled,  military press 60kgs for 6-10 reps, bench is currently at 100kg for 6-10 reps. Body weight exercises such as box jumps, tuck jumps, burpees, press ups are all coming along well
(No pull ups yet not sure when IL be brave enough to try them, not for a few more months i suspect). I recently did some building wrk in the house and had to carry the usual loads of rubble and bricks and had no problems. The only thing that i did struggle with was bags of sand and cement, there was just no way of carrying them comfortably so in the end i just dragged them around with the left arm ;). I have tried my best to make a positive out of this whole situation. As mentioned in previous posts as soon as the cast came off I began training again, only cardio and legs at first then the gradual introduction of upper body work as my repaired arm permitted. I feel continuing training especially heavy leg training coupled with cardio has really helped speed my recovery thus far. Also as an added bonus I'm squatting heavier than before and static jumping higher than ever! My aim was to be as close to 100% as possible by 5 months and barring any major set backs I feel i am on course to achieve this. I hope you are all recovering well and for anyone recently injured listen to your body and try not to do anything too stupid haha .There is light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully its not as far away as you think.
  • Hospital: countess of chester uk
  • Repair Method: titanium anchors and sutures
  • Surgeon: mr webb
  • Surgery Date: 23/11/11