Distal Biceps Tendon Surgery Recovery Question
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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Distal Biceps Tendon Surgery Recovery Question

    I tore the distal biceps tendon on my left arm Saturday. Waiting for Ortho appointment for surgery. Question for those who have had (or do) the surgery that we all ask after an injury: How long before I can ride again?

  2. #2
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    Good question. The answer's probably different for most everybody.
    Too old to ride plastic

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDCowboy View Post
    I tore the distal biceps tendon on my left arm Saturday. Waiting for Ortho appointment for surgery. Question for those who have had (or do) the surgery that we all ask after an injury: How long before I can ride again?
    I just had bicep tendon and rotator surgery. Sling for 6 weeks and full recovery in six months. I think the tendon was the determinate of time for recovery. Kiss sleep goodbye for at least two weeks.

    On the other hand, after 3 weeks I'm seeing serious improvement and was told by therapist that I could ride my trainer if I raised the bars to 4 inches or more above the saddle. My surgeon seems mostly concerned about falling. My sense is that she is very conservative with time estimates.

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    [QUOTE=SwiftSolo;5189964 Kiss sleep goodbye for at least two weeks.

    On the other hand, after 3 weeks I'm seeing serious improvement and was told by therapist that I could ride my trainer if I raised the bars to 4 inches or more above the saddle. My surgeon seems mostly concerned about falling. My sense is that she is very conservative with time estimates.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for sharing. Hope your recovery goes well. Hadn't thought about problems sleeping. Why was sleep difficult for the first two weeks? Because you can't turn in bed?

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    how did op tear his tendon?
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    how did op tear his tendon?
    I actually fell on the bike. I knew my arm hurt but didn't realize the extent of the injury until I looked at my arm the next morning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDCowboy View Post
    Thanks for sharing. Hope your recovery goes well. Hadn't thought about problems sleeping. Why was sleep difficult for the first two weeks? Because you can't turn in bed?
    Sleeping with a bulky sling is part of the problem. Not being able to sleep on that side is also an issue.

    The larger issue is the pain associated with the inadvertent isometric stressing of that tendon while trying to find a comfortable position. A reclining chair seems to be the best (but poor) choice for getting sleep.

    After 3 weeks it has started getting easier to get a few hours of sleep.

  8. #8
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    A tear of the distal biceps tendon needs quick surgical attention. Much different injury from a proximal tear (up at the shoulder area).

    The distal biceps tendon is responsible for forearm supination (think of your hand rotating up to hold a bowl of soup) and assists with elbow flexion.

    You will need to carefully listen to post-op instructions. I'm thinking 6-8 weeks before you can ride.

    Jim D

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    Interesting discussion. i tore my distal bicep tendon opening a window. Heard two pops and intense pain. Torn on July 8th, surgery on the 17th. Able to go to gym and ride on trainer before surgery. Was running in two weeks after surgery. Called surgeon and asked if I could ride on August 8th (couldn't wait any longer). All he said was try not to keep a death grip on bars. Couldn't grab my water bottle with that hand, but could shift and brake fine (right arm). Didn't climb any real hills for a bit.

    Moral of story. It's different for all of us. Surgeon told me he had a good tug of war with my tendon during surgery. My arm was black and blue from wrist to shoulder. Sleeping sucked, sling sucked.

    I hope your recovery is fast.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, Peter. Tore tendon on 10/7. Surgery is 10/19. Surgeon initially told me 2-3 months before I ride again. We'll see, but I won't take any chances. I'll certainly be on a spin bike well before I ride on the road or mtb again.

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    Peter, I ruptured my distal biceps tendon and had surgery 2 days ago. I like the sounds of your recovery schedule so I thought I would ask for follow up. My surgeon is very into rapid recovery and I am not in any brace, able to use my arm but not lift over 5 lbs. It is sore but tolerable. My sense is that I could road bike pretty early in this recovery as you have indicated you did; perhaps at the 4 week point when our bike paths are thawed out . Any recommendations? I road bike on smooth, relatively safe bike paths in the mountains so there are hills; maybe I should avoid them in the beginning...

    I am actually more into mountain biking but figure that will have to wait until the 10-12 week mark but also curious if you have any experience on dirt trails after you surgery. thanks for any follow up on your progress.

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    I tore my distal biceps tendon on 10/7/17 and had surgery 10/19/17. I was in a splint wrapped in a bandage for 6 weeks. I was on a spin bike two weeks post op not putting any pressure on the arm because I couldn't straighten it yet. I could not ride my road bike for 12 weeks and my mtb bike for 16 weeks. You sure don't want to fall or quickly extend your arm during the recovery!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDCowboy View Post
    I tore my distal biceps tendon on 10/7/17 and had surgery 10/19/17. I was in a splint wrapped in a bandage for 6 weeks. I was on a spin bike two weeks post op not putting any pressure on the arm because I couldn't straighten it yet. I could not ride my road bike for 12 weeks and my mtb bike for 16 weeks. You sure don't want to fall or quickly extend your arm during the recovery!
    Well believe it or not, I tore my left distal bicep tendon on Feb 1st. This time I was shutting my car door, that was stuck in a snow bank. If anyone recalls I tore my right distal bicep tendon July of 2017.

    I went to ortho, MIR etc. and yes another tear. This one felt different, I was able to move my hand palm up and palm down fine. My right arm tear must have been worse as I could not rotate my hand at all.

    Surgery on Feb 11th. Was riding my trainer a week later. Only used a sling for three days. This injury broke my record of being able to ride outdoors at least one day a month. I was going on 4 years. Oh well.

    Rode my bike outside March 4th. Took it easy, did not avoid the hills though.

    Hear we are March 30th, and I'm about 70%. My arm still doesn't like lot of weight holding. Also with this surgery I have slight numbness on my forearm, which I did not have with right arm. It should go away, according to surgeon.

    Good luck to anyone with this injury. I'm very glad it happened in winter, my right arm happened in July, and the summer kind of sucked because of it.

    Peter

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    Do you own a trainer. I was on my bike in a week after surgery on the trainer. Maybe at least a month before I got back on the road. I tore mine playing softball while at bat. Was miss diagnosed and went almost a year before getting it repaired. Tore it off where it attaches to the fore arm. Doctor said it had just been sliding up and down in there doing nothing all that time.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDCowboy View Post
    I tore the distal biceps tendon on my left arm Saturday. Waiting for Ortho appointment for surgery. Question for those who have had (or do) the surgery that we all ask after an injury: How long before I can ride again?
    It depends.

    It depends on how extensive the tear. On how they treat it. On how old you are. On how compliant you are with the management of the injury, and on what kind of riding you plan on doing. If you simply want to get on a bicycle and pedal without pulling on the handlebars (and tensing you bicep), then you may be able to ride sooner rather than later.

    Bottom line? Check with the orthopedic surgeon who is treating you.

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    Well, I am at 3 weeks exactly post surgery. I have been doing spinning classes regularly and at this point I can grab the bars with both hands for at least part of the session. It feels pretty good overall with a decrease in pain gradually. Range of motion is pretty good but I can't completely straighten it, just short of full extension. Pronation and supination are more painful and with somewhat limited range of motion. Fortunately, the position your hand is in when on the hoods of the road bike is very neutral and your arm is in slight flexion, so it feels pretty good. I plan to ride the bike outside in 2 days, when it warms up, and ramp up from there. Will see how it goes and update.

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    I rode 23 days post surgery (17 miles and 2000 vertical) and it felt really good overall. My arm didn't hurt at all with hands on the hoods. I didn't try to hold the flat part of the bar due to pain and limited range of motion; you are stretching the biceps muscle when you pronate so probably not a good idea at this point. More than anything I was nervous and I couldn't help but favor my other arm which caused some fatigue on the good side. That improved as I relaxed thru the ride. I was concerned that I would have lots of soreness in the operative arm but it really didn't get much worse than it was; I took some ibuprofen. The only reason I stopped was because I wasn't sure if I was going to cause any harm or increase pain, so I didn't push the limits. So, overall a positive experience and I will push it a bit more in the upcoming days.

  18. #18
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    My last week of riding, from days 23 to 30 post surgery consisted of smooth road riding, 135 miles total over 5 rides. No pulling on handle bars, no rocking the bike, taking it easy over any bumps but I was on smooth pavement almost all the time. It felt and continues to feel really good. Soreness is calming down, range of motion still slightly limited but the road bike position is perfect with no pain associated with it.

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