T Nation

Torn Biceps Tendon

I’m 44 yo and have currently been lifting 3 yrs after spending 15 yrs as armchair athlete. Spent the 1st year losing over 50 lbs fat and the last 2 yrs gaining back 30 lbs of mostly muscle with help of a number of androsol cycles, 1 5wk finasol cycle and just finished a 3 week mag10 cycle and my strength has more than doubled over the past 2 yrs - I never thought I could do this at my age but Biotest products allowed gains I couldn’t achieve 20 yrs ago. Enough history - my problem - After the finasol cycle and mag10 cycle, My strength increased so much that I got into the bad habit of doing heavy singles always trying to increase my PB in the big lifts. Recently while doing a PB heavey dead lift, I felt a massive ripping of muscle - felt the muscle tear and seperate in my right forearm along with a popping noise and my elbow felt like it was starting to seperate or pull apart. A real bad feeling. Had a MRI and Dr diagnosed a completely torn lower biceps tendon but when opened up arm for surgery, Dr was surprised to find tendon supposedly still intact with a 60% tear and he cleaned the tear up and closed the arm. Still puzzled by that as the biceps muscle has appeared to recede or retract about 1 1/2 inch up arm as if tendon isn’t pulling on it - could it have stretched that much? Haven’t really been able to test or use arm yet as all this happened 2 wks ago and surgery just 5 days ago. My question - does anybody have any experience or knowledge of severe tear to lower biceps tendon? What is the prognosis for complete recovery? Will the tendon regain complete strength or will it be prone to future injury? How long can I expect for it to heal to the point where I can start doing some lifting again? Can I ever do heavey singles again? Will it heal ok at my age? Any info on this type of tendon injury would be much appreciated.

bump - anybody familiar with biceps tendon injury?

Complety tore bicep tendon from bone(dital bicep tendon) in May 98-had it repaired 10 days later-had a difficult and hard rehab(but spoke to others in same boat who didn’t-I guess it was my bad geneitics)worked my butt off to where the point I have about95% ROM of the arm and maintanied most strength,was a 605 deadlifter at 210 before the tear-haven’t tried above 500 as I(in my mind) feel pain at this high weight and fear ripping it again-even though my surgeon said it will be stronger now then it was before-any more questions just ask

Thanks for sharing your experience dWood. The Dr 1st thought mine was complete tear in 2 and retracted 1 cm from bone and were going to do the drill hole in bone and thread it through to reattach but on surgery found it was only a tear so basically did nothing further. How long before you started training again and what % of your original training poundages did you start at? How long before you back to full strength? Does anybody else have experience with a tendon tear and how well it will heal from a severe tear?

anybody else?

Sorry to hear about your injury. You will most likely display decreased strength in the affected arm but how much depends a lot on your post operative care. I strongly reccommend finding a good physical therapist ASAP! Your primary goal at this stage is to promote optimal healing and prevent intramuscular scar formation without reinjuring the muscle. This entails massage and very light movement within a limited ROM. Since there is a high risk of reinjury I would not try doing this independently. Good Luck!

thanks for the advice Mark. I’ve got a Dr appt on Fri and probably be referred to therapy then. About scar tissue you mention - would ART be appropriate? I’ve heard about ART but know very little about it. Also, would a TENS/STIM type machine be of value? I think I could get access to one but don’t really know much about it either. Any other comments from anybody would be much appreciated.

ART is probably not a good idea at this time since it seems to be an agressive method of breaking up inter and intramuscular adhesions. I wouldn’t worry about the stim so much and emphasize low intensity isometrics after about 10-14 days to optimize the healing process. If you start to soon you will damage the healing tissue and the process has to start over again only this time with more scarring. Don’t forget supination isometrics and light bicep stretching-very important!

Thanks Mark. appreciate the info.