Question about distal biceps tendon

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 30, 2009 10:57 PM GMT
    (Today is my day for a philanthropic physical therapist.) 34 years of lifting and nothing but a few little dings here and there. 1.5 weeks ago, I tugged on the 100# dumbbells off the rack to do incline dumbbell presses. I had my straps on. Apparently, I was at the wrong angle. I felt kind of a sharp pain. I dropped the weight. I tried to work out with a lighter weight, but, nothing doing. There was no bleeding / bruising. It's my dominant arm. When I supinate, I have mild pain, in my forearm, anteriorly. There are no knots. There are no sharp pains. There seems to be no disconnect of the muscle anywhere. I can palpate my biceps on both sides, even, squeezing it, without much pain, and no sharp pain. The inflammation is lessening. I did a high rep bicep workout, Sunday, and now I have some bruising both on the inside, above, and below my elbow. There was no bruising until yesterday. I worked out with only mild discomfort, but, very cognizant that I have some inflammation. I've used ice and message. What's bugging me is that the bruising didn't happen until a week after. The pain is less. It's seem to be calming down. Think I should see a doctor? My supination, while stiff, is virtually pain free now, without load, and only midly painful at low load, but, high load seems to be out of the question.

    I hate to waste money on a needless doctor visit.

    One trainer bud says give it two weeks.

    Several others say it's torn, but, if it is, it's not sore, and there are no knots, and I can't seem to induce pain by touching it anywhere.

    I'm a patient guy, but, would like to compete again in the fall.

    I spent a number of hours studying up on this, and it seems the distal biceps tendon thing happens almost exclusively in middle aged guys who lift. As I said: no knots. No sharp pain. No deformity I can see, or that the roomie can see.

    My sense is that it's not torn, but, after it got all bruised up on a very light workout 4 days later, I'm wondering about the best course of action.

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    I'm not sure that the bruising is from a brace I put on the first few days, or that it just started to bleed when I worked it again.

    Ice the bitch?

    When I supinate, I feel a tightness, but, no real pain.
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    Jun 30, 2009 11:50 PM GMT
    Mate, going to the doctor, even if it turns out everything is ok wont be a waste of money, it will bring you a great deal of peace of mind.

    the words of wisdom from my physio therapist, ice, rest and over the counter anti-inflammatory if I need'em

    go to a doctor, they'll do xray or ultrasound or something and be able to see things a lot more clearly then with touch or external indicators like bruising.

    Also, if there is something wrong that needs fixing, its better to know now when its easier to repair then later when it'll cause more damage and potentially more time off
  • BeingThePhoen...

    Posts: 1157

    Jul 01, 2009 12:15 AM GMT


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    Holy crap bro, at first glance, I thought that was your leg...lol.

    Anyway, better safe than sorry. See a doctor, man. As much as you seem to care about your body, a doctors visit really shouldn't be a question.
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    Jul 01, 2009 1:12 AM GMT
    Ecchymosis around the elbow is suggestive of a distal biceps tear. A complete tear is easy to diagnose because the biceps migrates toward the shoulder. A partial tear can be diagnosed by MRI. Some orthopedic surgeons use this rule of thumb. If the tear is less than 50%, they treat conservatively. If the tear is greater than 50%, surgery is recommended. How to treat a partial tear is individualized. The surgeon has to consider the patient's age and the need of the patient to be able to supinate without limitation. I know two people with partial tears of the achilles tendon (not biceps) that went on to complete rupture of the weakened tendon couple weeks after the initial partial tear. Both individuals required tendon repair. If I were in your situation, I would definitely want to know if I had a partial biceps tear that requires treatment versus a less serious injury that only requires R.I.C.E.
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    Jul 01, 2009 2:05 AM GMT
    Thanks.

    I'm thinking I have a partial tear, and when I went to do light weight on Sunday (5, 10, and 15), after the thing bugged out on Thursday, I irritated it further, and got it bleeding.

    I can flex my biceps and it's equal tightness on both sides, but, it looks like there might be some migration towards the shoulder on the injured side. I'm not sure if that's just some natural asymmetry or a tear. I seem to be able to supinate with just degree of stiffness.

    I knew a PT, and can't locate his number, and called my buddy who is does orthopedic surgery every day.

    I'll go see the G.P. and see what he thinks.

    I know a guy who's just in his thirties who tore his biceps tendon completely off here about three months ago on a weight machine. He had it surgically repaired and is back in the gym.

    I did an intact hook test and it's looking like a partial. I'm no doctor, but, the hook test is pretty easy to do, and it's looking like I have a partial, because it's not as tight and firm (although I can hook it, just not like on the non-dominant side).
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    Jul 01, 2009 3:00 AM GMT
    Yikes. Hope you recover well Chuckster.
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    Jul 01, 2009 5:26 AM GMT
    Fucking sucks. I do all my training on an intelligent basis. Sometimes, we're reminded of how fragile we are.

    It seems to be a partial distal bicep rupture. I can have a M.D. repeat my tests and confirm, but, the hook test is a no-brainer.

    Nearly every master athlete deals with this at some point, but, I've been very, very, lucky, going for decades without issues.

    So, tonight, ice, vodka, Zanax (1/2 tab) and some vanilla yogurt in a float. YUMM.

    Like many things in life, temporary, but, a drag.

    I wasn't careless, or reckless, but, I am getting older. Go figure.

    As I told Logan, beats type 1 diabetes.

    Thanks for your well wishes my friend.
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    Jul 02, 2009 3:26 AM GMT
    I went to my doctor today, who did a residency in orthopedics. He repeated the intact hook test, and confirmed my prior self-diagnosis, of a partial distal biceps tendon tear. Mentally, I'd love to get it fixed, and might still, but, at nearly 50, I've had a long run, and have no other real asymetry, nor weakness.

    We're gonna' rest it, ice it, compress it, and elevate it (R.I.C.E) and see where we go.

    Doc tells me that he can get the tendon about any time, and he doesn't think it's over 50% (far less, in fact), and that we'll see how it goes.

    I wanted to compete in The Texas State Championships this summer, and might still be able to. I'm thinking on it. It's 17 weeks away.

    While the surgery usually has positive outcome, it could make it worse in this instance, and it's mostly cosmetic, so, I'm gonna' let the light shine it for a bit. Either way, my days of the real heavy stuff are likely over. Doc got on my ass for refusing to get old.

    Sucks...because I was hitting the rythm and was leaning out and right on schedule with my plan for success.

    I've lifted that 100 100s of times...but, that last time...apparently, several things came together.

    Fudge.

    I made some call to the orthopedic association and I'm looking into a doc who might want a retirement project.

    Steady as she goes.

    It's so weird not to be at the gym, but, I'll get around it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 02, 2009 12:46 PM GMT
    as much as it sucks, it's what happens, you aren't 20 or 30 any more..

    Shame it happened though..

    something like that happened with my shoulder, done it hundreds of times before, lost focus for a second and pffft there goes ma shower and spent the last few months recovering..

    Mind you, I wasn't lifting hundred pounds, nor am I a body builder.. or 50.. icon_razz.gif

    you'll work it all out good it wasn't terrible though!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 02, 2009 12:50 PM GMT
    chuckystud said


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    What the fuck is that? A ham? A cow leg? What?!? That's too big to be a human arm.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Jul 02, 2009 4:50 PM GMT
    Ouch...hope you get well soon!

    As the others have suggested, I'd agree: it's better to go to the doctor and possibly be annoyed by "wasted" money than to not go and end up regretting it down the line.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Jul 02, 2009 5:10 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidFucking sucks. I do all my training on an intelligent basis. Sometimes, we're reminded of how fragile we are.

    It seems to be a partial distal bicep rupture. I can have a M.D. repeat my tests and confirm, but, the hook test is a no-brainer.

    Nearly every master athlete deals with this at some point, but, I've been very, very, lucky, going for decades without issues.

    So, tonight, ice, vodka, Zanax (1/2 tab) and some vanilla yogurt in a float. YUMM.

    Like many things in life, temporary, but, a drag.

    I wasn't careless, or reckless, but, I am getting older. Go figure.

    As I told Logan, beats type 1 diabetes.

    Thanks for your well wishes my friend.


    Some freind there Chunk- felx logan is supposed to be your friend roomate- who would make a comment like that!! There was a tread that was called 3 words or your headstone. Flex/Logan's would read:

    Followed
    Chucky's
    Advice
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 02, 2009 8:00 PM GMT
    yeah carry on with RICE definitely, however, do NOT carry on with any further massage of the biceps tendon. Due to the clear severity of the strain, or tear (you really need ultrasound to tell this) you want to be careful to prevent contusion of the muscle belly, which could lead to contracture and a sort of bone formation similar to what can occur in the quadricep
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    Jul 02, 2009 8:32 PM GMT
    GO TO THE DOCTOR!!!!!
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    Jul 03, 2009 1:49 AM GMT
    I'm trying to get into the UT Southwest orthopedic clinic.

    I emailed my buddy who is an orthopedic surgeon in Lincoln, NE, and he told me if I don't have it worked on, to let it heal for 3 MONTHS, and then if it's not "good enough" to have a surgeon go after it. Of course, it's easier to do the surgery sooner rather than later, but, it's a partial, and the surgery isn't without a few issues of its own.
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    Jul 03, 2009 1:53 AM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle saidIt's probably due to the aging process. And just after reading the intitial post I got the feeling it was aggravated further by continuing to workout.


    Seems like bicep tendon tears are so common these days. I find that a bit peculiar. Most people seem to acquire them by moving heavy furniture and putting their arms in odd postions.


    That's what the doctor says. I picked up the 100 from the floor and apparently twisted in the wrong way. I used to do shrugs with 180s at 24 Hour here, but, it's looking like those days are over. Makes me wonder if I haven't been lifting heavy enough.

    Most folks do the upper part of the bicep tendon by the shoulder (proximal). The injury I did happens to guys like construction workers who pick up concrete blocks and stuff. The tendon gets straightened forcefully and tears.

    One of my personal goals was to do Master's Nationals competition before 50, but, it doesn't look like I'm gonna' pull it off.

    I know several guys at the gym who've done this same thing.

    Sucks, because I'm not careless in my lifting. I guess 34 years is a long run.
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    Jul 03, 2009 1:58 AM GMT
    lilTanker saidas much as it sucks, it's what happens, you aren't 20 or 30 any more..

    Shame it happened though..

    something like that happened with my shoulder, done it hundreds of times before, lost focus for a second and pffft there goes ma shower and spent the last few months recovering..

    Mind you, I wasn't lifting hundred pounds, nor am I a body builder.. or 50.. icon_razz.gif

    you'll work it all out good it wasn't terrible though!


    Sounds like you messed up your proximal biceps tendon?

    I spent several afternoons studying up on this on The Internet. It seems the biceps thing happens in the age group 40 to 50 the most often. The distal tear is pretty rare. 1.2% of all cases, apparently. It's almost always the upper tendon(s).

    The injury I have is pretty much in construction workers and weight lifters.
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    Jul 06, 2009 3:46 AM GMT
    Good luck Chucky, hope you heal in time to compete.....make us near 50's men proud!