It's been 265 days since I damaged my biceps tendon playing hockey.
1. Consulted three orthopedics
2. Got an elbow and shoulder MRI (showed very little)
3. Got an xray
4. Prescribed (and used) Voltaren, Ibuprophen, Ketoprophen and Celebrex (this one scared me)
5. Did 2 months of physical therapy (resulted in more pain)
6. Tried Platelet-Rich Plasma injection (no difference other than less money in my wallet)
Here's what the elbow MRI said:
1. Mild biceps tendinosis/tendinopathy or even tendinitis but without a significant tear identified.
2. No mass in the region of the palpable abnormality of the biceps muscle.
3. If there is any clinical suspicion for a proximal biceps tendon tear, then an MRI of the shoulder and proximal humerous may be of benefit.
The shoulder MRI basically said I have an impingement but I really didn't expect much. The pain for me is almost exclusively distal. I have had mild shoulder pain for most of my life.
I'm 42 years old and I've never had anything like this before. In my climbing days I would get sore tendons and broken fingers but neither would stop me for more that a few days. This injury stopped me in my tracks and for the last 9 months I have not been able to get out of first gear...
It all started when I got back into playing hockey and probably hit it too hard. I was averaging three days a week in the rink between Tues-Fri and I think the arm just started to wear down. What started as mild pain in the middle of my arm picking up my bag soon turned into difficulty picking up a cup of coffee or brushing my teeth. There was NO swelling, NO deformation, NO bruising and NO pain in the shoulder at the time of injury. Not knowing the first thing about giving your tendons a rest, I figured I would just grind through it. Bad idea.
It finally got so bad I had to keep my right arm at the waist and use my left for everything. After about three days I felt like I could pick up a fork again and I switch the mouse at work back. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the max I have felt during the worst time I'm now around a 3-4. While that is quite a reduction, the pain NEVER goes away.
It affects everything I do in life: picking up the kids, shaking hands, washing dishes, brushing teeth, picking anything up and yes, playing hockey. That's the short list.
The first two orthopedics I consulted prescribed every NSAID on the market. Started with Ibu, then used Voltaren. After a brief break, I tried a ketoprophen cream and wrapped up my chemical experiment with Celebrex. I swear, anytime I was using these drugs my arm would hurt MORE. Especially the Celebrex. I quit that one after one week of use after reading about the side-effects and class action law suits.
Initially I thought the PT was going well but I really think that it was just in my head. The more I pushed it, the more my arm started to hurt. After about 14 sessions, I was off to another ortho. He immediately suggested I look into PRPT and agreed that the anti inflamitories really wouldn't help in my case anymore. I signed up and took the shot right before xmas.
The first week after the injection the outside of my arm hurt quite a bit but not enough to require any pain killers. After about three days I started to get my pre-op ROM back and by a week I thought things were really looking up. The second week my bicep tendon pain really started to flare up and stayed that way for the next three weeks. By week five, things settled down a little and I resumed my normal level of pain and discomfort.
I am now coming up on 8 weeks post injection and I really don't have much hope for more improvement. I feel that I have been smart about my rehab of this injury by initially staying away from any type of motion that would aggravate the injury. Yet here I am, 9 months down the road and considering surgery as an option. Never in my life have I stood on the sidelines like this for so long. I have been active my whole life and the sedentary lifestyle does not work for me. These days I spend my time working on cardio in the gym before work and throw in public ice time when I take the kids to the rink but that's about it.
My current doctor asked me to call back in next week to discuss my progress but I have to say, I'm losing faith. None of the orthos I have seen seem to want to cut my tendon but that may be where I am headed. I asked about which procedure he preferred and he said he only does the suture anchor technique. He recommended against the endobutton based on some issue with the bone breaking? I'll get more details on this the next time we speak.
Here are options I have not tried yet but considering:
1. Trying Cissus Quadrangularis
3. Active Release Technique
Sorry for the long winded report but I thought I would get it out there in hopes someone else has been down this road. I will continue to post back here with and progress (or lack of) in the future.
For everyone else who has contributed their experience and support I thank you. I have found this forum to be the most helpful and informative of all. Much appreciated,