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sparklefish99
June 29th, 2003, 10:33 PM
I was wondering if any of you have ever had bicept tendonitis to the point where shoulder surgery or cortizone were your options.

The doc said the injury was probably caused from too much butterfly (seeing how I'm a distance flyer). The PT didn't really help all that much. I've had a history of shoulder tendonitis and impingement syndrome in the shoulder but haven't had any problems until last year. I'm down to about 450 yards of freestyle before I know I need to stop swimming.

I've been a competitive swimmer for most of my life and am looking for alternatives to going under the knife or taking the long needle. Any advice?:confused:

gull
June 30th, 2003, 11:01 AM
If the orthopedist is considering surgery, I assume you've had an MRI. Is your orthopedist a specialist in sports medicine (many are not)? You mentioned PT--how long were you involved with it and have you been following a home exercise program (elastic bands, etc.)? Are you taking an antiinflammatory agent? Did you stop using paddles?

I think it all depends on the diagnosis. My understanding is that surgery can be avoided in many (most?) cases of tendinitis/swimmer's shoulder. The most frequent cause is a muscle imbalance causing instability in the joint and impingement of one of the tendons by the head of the humerus. Stroke mechanics can contribute. I would opt for the steroid injection before an operation. A rotator cuff tear is a different story.

kaelonj
June 30th, 2003, 12:08 PM
Hi Danielle,

I ended up developing bicep tendonitis while in college flaired up at the the end of polo season and steadily got worse as we started swim season. The school trainer was able to get the symptoms under control lots of PT (heat, ice, stretching and weights) plus anti-inflammatory and some reduction in my workouts - where the main focus was on technique which cured the problem, I have now been swimming incident free for over 10 years. Good luck - a second opinion wouldn't be a bad thing to get especially if your first opinion is really pushing the surgery. Good Luck.

Jeff

msgrupp
June 30th, 2003, 04:52 PM
Been there, done that. Have gone the pt route, the drug route and the surgery route. Most successful with the surgery route although sometimes need a "tune-up" with drugs and have had 1 steroid injection.

I have had some success when the tendonitis flairs up with a biceps strap from Cho-Pat which goes around the upper arm and prevents the bicep from "rocking" back and forth. Does leave an odd tan line however in outdoor swimming!

Technique can be part of the problem. Get that checked out and get some PT instruction in rehab exercises.

I did the surgery after X-rays, MRIs and PT. Had surgery on both shoulders for impingement syndrome. Right shoulder has had 2 surgeries and left has had 4. The impingement syndrome is the most troubling of all (except for a stretched shoulder capsule) and after having one injection (not as bad as I thought it would be--had an orthopod with heavy sports background who gives quite a few injections to the biggest babies--the pro athletes!) and taking off a number of weeks from swimming--it did clear up.

I've given this non-medical suggestion before on this forum--one cause of impingement syndrome can be your sleeping position. Having the forearm wrapped around a pillow and placing your elbow ABOVE your shoulder = impingement syndrome. Try to learn to sleep with an elbow BELOW the level of your shoulder--will help prevent/heal some impingement syndrome problems.

Dennis Tesch
July 1st, 2003, 11:13 AM
I just had an MRI on my right shoulder and the only two options given to me were a cortizone shot or surgery. I did the cortizone shot (my first ever after 25 years of swimming). I was referred to a Physical therapist who is a pilates teacher here in Salt Lake City to the help strengthen, stabalize, and rehab my shoulder. I am already feeling much better and don't have much pain in my shoulder. I'm not swimmng yet, but the out look is good.

If you can find a good pilates teacher with some rehab or PT background I think this might be a good option to avoid surgery.

Good luck..

Dennis

sparklefish99
July 1st, 2003, 01:51 PM
The crazy part of this whole thing is....the doc would rather go in and scope the shoulder without doing an MRI. This makes me a little nervous. He said there is some instability in the shoulder which would need to be fixed as well. I'd lose a lot of flexablility in the shoulder which means not a whole lot of swimming in the near future.

I was in therapy for over 6 weeks. I continued at home with the exercises but I don't think making all the fire runs was helping the situation.

Thanks for all your ideas. Call me a frady cat because I really don't want to go under the needle or the knife. I'm thinking about finding a pilates instructor with some PT experience.

Thanks again and keep on swimmin! :D

msgrupp
July 1st, 2003, 05:59 PM
Most surgeons would like an idea of what they are facing when they get "into" something. The mri can give a better idea of torn muscles, inflammation and other soft tissue problems.

The looseness in the shoulders is easily diagnosed by the manual tests the doctor gave you (hopefully) in his exam. It's called (I think) capsular instability where the shoulder capsule has stretched. I had an arthroscopic procedure in 1998 to "shrink" the shoulder capsule but I think alot of doctors have now gone back to the old open procedure. While I've had 5 years of success--many other people haven't had the same luck.

If your surgeon does alot of shoulder work--he probably has seen quite a few examples of your current problems and pretty much knows what to expect.

You're right about losing some swimming time--recovery isn't fun (I've currently got a friend in a sling from this surgery for 6 weeks) and then you've got the PT for a period of time.

The suggestion of doing PT and even a Pilates instructor is good--
exercises can help strengthen the shoulder and even if you do have the surgery--the recover isn't as bad if you go in in good shape.

scyfreestyler
February 6th, 2005, 08:24 PM
Reviving an old topic here!! Anyhow, as many of you know I have had problems with my LH shoulder which are improving with some exercises and some swimming. I have recently noticed a minor bump on the front of my shoulders, mostly on the RH, that I think is my biceps tendon. It grows when I raise my arm out to the side or when I flex my bicep. Two things bother me about it, it is slighlty tender and I don't remember seeing it before. I am thinking of swinging by my therapists office tomorrow and having him take a look to see if I am smoking crack or am actually on to something. Those who have had biceps tendonitis, does this minor swelling sound familiar?

scyfreestyler
February 7th, 2005, 11:13 AM
bump...bump

tjburk
February 8th, 2005, 01:46 PM
If it is just tendonitis, the thing that worked for me when I used to play racquetball was a liquid called DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide). Type in the letters DMSO and read about it. Not for everybody, but definitely works for me.

aime
February 8th, 2005, 06:57 PM
I am inpatiently recovering from both a severe sprain in one rotator cuff, as well as severe tendinitis in both biceps. The MRI shows no actual tear. I can't swim, but I can finally brush my teeth. I see that options other than surgery or injections can work long term. I don't have to explain to you folks that I "need" to get back in to the pool. Therefore, my questions are, how long did it take before you could swim free, and how long did it take before you could swim fly after these types of injuries?

aime
February 8th, 2005, 07:03 PM
Followup on my earlier posting. I notice that "msgrupp" recommended a biceps strap from CHO-PAT. Can you tell me more about this equipment, including how to buy 1 and if it really solved the problem? Thanks.

msgrupp
February 8th, 2005, 08:03 PM
can be found on the internet but I think some of the swim companies also carry them.

They kinda look like the straps that people wear for tennis elbow EXCEPT they go around the biceps. The idea is that the biceps is prevented from rolling and it holds it in place. It comes in various sizes depending on your upper arm size. Cost (used to be) about $12 + s/h. They're made of some fuzzy type fabric with a velcro strip that you wrap around your upper arm. Some of them (at least one or 2 that I purchased) also had a kind of firm, thin plastic to apply a little more pressure.

I showed it to the ortho--and he said--give it a try--if it works--fine. I did use them post pre- and post-op.

I have no connection with the company. Website is www.cho-pat.com. The strap is $13 or 2 for $25. You're looking for the "upper arm strap".

craiglll@yahoo.com
February 9th, 2005, 10:59 AM
Originally posted by msgrupp
can be found on the internet but I think some of the swim companies also carry them.

They kinda look like the straps that people wear for tennis elbow EXCEPT they go around the biceps. The idea is that the biceps is prevented from rolling and it holds it in place. It comes in various sizes depending on your upper arm size. Cost (used to be) about $12 + s/h. They're made of some fuzzy type fabric with a velcro strip that you wrap around your upper arm. Some of them (at least one or 2 that I purchased) also had a kind of firm, thin plastic to apply a little more pressure.

I showed it to the ortho--and he said--give it a try--if it works--fine. I did use them post pre- and post-op.

I have no connection with the company. Website is www.cho-pat.com. The strap is $13 or 2 for $25. You're looking for the "upper arm strap".

I saw a woman swimmign with one of these. i didn't want to ask her what it was becsue I didn't know her. I wondered why she would have something wrapped around that part of her arm. It never occured to me that the bicep could get tendonitis.

scyfreestyler
February 9th, 2005, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by aime
I am inpatiently recovering from both a severe sprain in one rotator cuff, as well as severe tendinitis in both biceps. The MRI shows no actual tear. I can't swim, but I can finally brush my teeth. I see that options other than surgery or injections can work long term. I don't have to explain to you folks that I "need" to get back in to the pool. Therefore, my questions are, how long did it take before you could swim free, and how long did it take before you could swim fly after these types of injuries?

First off, my concern about biceps tendinitis wound up being my deltoid muscle bulging from shoulder from all of my exercises. As far as recovery from my cuff injuries, it has been two months and I am still nursing it along. I can swim freestyle for about 500-600 yards before I get any discomfort and I suspect it will take another month or two at least before I am back to normal. I was never bad enough that I could not brush my teeth so your situation might be worse than mine. I would suggest seeing a physical therapist for a few weeks to get you going again. Passive exercises might be valuable to your recovery.

aime
February 9th, 2005, 02:38 PM
Originally posted by 330man
First off, my concern about biceps tendinitis wound up being my deltoid muscle bulging from shoulder from all of my exercises. As far as recovery from my cuff injuries, it has been two months and I am still nursing it along. I can swim freestyle for about 500-600 yards before I get any discomfort and I suspect it will take another month or two at least before I am back to normal. I was never bad enough that I could not brush my teeth so your situation might be worse than mine. I would suggest seeing a physical therapist for a few weeks to get you going again. Passive exercises might be valuable to your recovery.

I continue to participate in PT 3 times a week. I got into the pool yesterday for the first time since December 30. I of course was only able to kick, but it helped to be able to smell and breathe the clorine again; I miss being in the water.

aime
February 9th, 2005, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by msgrupp
can be found on the internet but I think some of the swim companies also carry them.

They kinda look like the straps that people wear for tennis elbow EXCEPT they go around the biceps. The idea is that the biceps is prevented from rolling and it holds it in place. It comes in various sizes depending on your upper arm size. Cost (used to be) about $12 + s/h. They're made of some fuzzy type fabric with a velcro strip that you wrap around your upper arm. Some of them (at least one or 2 that I purchased) also had a kind of firm, thin plastic to apply a little more pressure.

I showed it to the ortho--and he said--give it a try--if it works--fine. I did use them post pre- and post-op.

I have no connection with the company. Website is www.cho-pat.com. The strap is $13 or 2 for $25. You're looking for the "upper arm strap".

Thanks. I plan to bring infor on product to Ortho on next visit. My concern is that my doc is not into wellness and non-RX relief/planning as much as I am. I can't see that the product would worsen my pain or injuries. And so, my question, do you have any experience using it as preventative against further injury too? I don't now have tricep problems.

ALSO, to be honest, I think that my technique in both free and fly are contributing to my injuries. I think that I extend incorrectly in free, and I think that I may be twisting my arms/shoulders in fly. I hope to find a good technique coach when I return to swimming.

msgrupp
February 9th, 2005, 05:47 PM
I've used it pre-op and post-op. I think I purchased my first one AFTER having at least 2 shoulder surgeries. I KNOW I was wearing it after the next 2 (I'm just such a FUN person). I now wear it when I feel that the shoulder and bicep isn't "right" and it just needs a little extra "support" to prevent it from becoming a full-fledged problem.

I've shown it to both orthopedic surgeons and sports med docs--both have said--if it works for you--go for it. It does take some getting used to -- if you put it on too tight--you lose some feeling in your upper arm. You need to adjust it so that it feels not only comfortable BUT comforting (as if the arm is being hugged).

Heck--if a purchase under $20 keeps you off an operating table or from wrecking your stomach with drugs, why not go for it? All my docs are pro-active. They work with athletes and are happy to either go the alternative medicine route (2 said it was OK for me to do prolotherapy--in fact--one was running the study!) or the normal route with PT, drugs and surgery.