Your surgeon will likely give you an elbow brace that will prevent excessive elbow extension in order to protect the repair – straightening your elbow will put too much tension on the still healing repair. The brace will be adjustable, starting at limiting extension to 45 degrees in your second week and gradually increasing the amount of extension until you have full range in about the eighth week. The HEP your PT gives you will reflect this gradual increase. Your HEP is one of your tools you have as a patient to take responsibility for your recovery. Your initial HEP following a distal biceps tendon repair may look like this:
- Ice pack: up to 10 to 15 minutes at a time, at least an hour apart; this is to help with pain control as well as inflammation and swelling; PRO TIP: mix one part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water in a zip-lock bag, then double bag it and throw it in the freezer. The alcohol will prevent the water from freezing solid, so you’re left with a nice gel-like ice pack that costs 50 cents! Make three or four so you always have a one ready to go.
- Ball squeezes: your PT may give you a ball, or you can get a stress ball; work on squeezing it several times a day to maintain grip strength and circulation
- Wrist range of motion: your PT will prescribe wrist exercises to maintain wrist function during your recovery process
- Isometrics: This type of exercise involves contracting the muscle without moving the arm, your PT may have you start isometrics at the triceps to help maintain strength without damaging the repair
- As you start your second or third week of recovery, your PT may have you start doing active-assisted range of motion exercises; these exercises involve contracting the muscles of the affected arm and using the opposite arm to help perform the motion; this will help to both maintain range of motion at the elbow and introduce strength training.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care. Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.
If you are having pain in your arm or have been diagnosed with biceps tear, please come see us for a free consultation to see how we can assist you in your recovery. To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022