The Long Road to Recovery
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:22 pm)

distal biceps tendon injury surgical scar

On 27 August 2014 I experienced a "traumatic rupture of the distal biceps tendon" only a week after completing physical therapy for tearing my Achilles tendon the year before.

As of now, I have been pronounced "healed" by my surgeon and can now return to normal activity. At least what normal activity I can manage after almost nine months of atrophy and habitual disuse. Seriously, that's a long time for a recovery. No shorter than my Achilles tendon though, and if it's any indication I'll be dealing with this for a long time to come. After almost two years my left leg is much better but certainly not 100%.

In any case, it's nice to have the OK to stop babying my arm.

After two straight years of (very expensive) injuries, my goal for 2015 is to not have surgery. And I will be very happy if I can attain it. My one recommendation to you (very) few loyal readers is this: do not tear your tendons.

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Arm Extensions, Wrist Pains
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:29 pm)

I had PT again this morning. After seeing the doctor yesterday and starting my new (passive) arm exercises, I'm already getting my arm nearly fully extended, it's only about 10 degrees short. Unfortunately most of the pain I've had has been in my wrist, and as we were working on that I had a nasty twinge after a rotation of my wrist. At this rate I'll have full extension of my arm well before I can rotate my own wrist.

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PT Progress
Posted in General
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:56 am)

So the physical therapy has been torture, but I'm feeling a difference. I've been four times now, and while I dread the bill (since I haven't met my deductible yet this year) I really feel like I've made progress. The swelling isn't much better, but I'm regaining some range-of-motion in my ankle and foot. I have some very specific exercises to work on for both strength and flexibility. I go back again next Monday which gives me some time to do more work on my own and see how I progress. Overall though, it's good. Working on the scar tissue itself is by far the most painful part of my visit (heck, it's the only painful part!) but I've been told it's important to get those nerves used to being worked on again. I hope I only need a few more visits, but either way the important thing is that I'm improving.

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PT
First dog watch, 1 bell (4:59 pm)

I went to my first day of physical therapy today, over ten months after my achilles tendon surgery. I would not have gone at all (much to the chagrin of any physical therapist) since my doctor said it wasn't really necessary. After, walking on it is the best therapy!

Anyway, I am still dealing with swelling issues, which I'm told can continue well after a year post-surgery. Also I get extremely painful charley horses in my calf, just above the surgery scar. These cramps can last for 8-10 minutes sometimes, and they're brutal. They always come after I've overdone what I typically do in a day, most recently about ten days ago while I was in Portland (I got stuck in rush-hour traffic, my car has a manual transmission, then did some walking downtown). I thought these symptoms would be gone by now, but they seem to always be nearby, so I went back to see my doctor and ask about them.

Hence the referral to a physical therapist. He worked the heck out of my calf and foot and gave me some exercises to do until our next appointment (on Friday). I'm sore enough that I hope I don't get another bad cramp tonight…

Follow-up: No cramps, but a ton of soreness and pain around my scar. The therapist told me yesterday that the base of my tendon is about three times the size of the other one due to some scar tissue and swelling, so hopefully the exercises he gave me will help kickstart the healing process.

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