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Recovery & Support for Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture

NYU Langone doctors and rehabilitation specialists offer postsurgical care and physical and occupational therapy to help you recover after repair and reconstruction surgery for a distal biceps tendon rupture.

Postsurgical Care

After surgery, you may need to use prescription medications on a short-term basis. Your doctor may then transition you to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen to manage any pain and inflammation.

Your doctor may recommend using ice packs and other cold therapies to reduce pain and swelling after surgery. These therapies may be applied for up to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day, on your upper arm.

At around two weeks after surgery, your doctor checks on your incision or incisions to see how they are healing. Your doctor may also ask how you are adjusting to immobilizing your arm as part of the healing process. Most people need to wear a splint for at least four weeks after surgery. Your doctor also determines when you are ready to begin a rehabilitation program.

Physical or Occupational Therapy

Rehabilitation after distal biceps tendon surgery involves either physical or occupational therapy. Specialists at NYU Langone Orthopedic Center can help you regain function of your arm with range of motion and strengthening exercises. Rehabilitation programs for distal biceps tendon rupture surgery may last up to three or four months.

While your biceps tendon is healing from surgery, your therapist may show you gripping and squeezing exercises for the hand and range of motion exercises for the wrist. Range of motion exercises for the shoulder may help avoid stiffness in the region as you heal.

Occupational therapists may teach you how to safely perform everyday tasks such as using a computer. You may have to avoid lifting motions that require you to bend your elbow, including those involved with eating.

Over the course of several weeks, rehabilitation specialists incorporate strengthening exercises of the biceps that may include resistance training and weight training. They also help you strengthen other muscles in the arms, shoulder, and wrists to provide stability to the arm and elbow. Learning how to safely perform everyday activities that require lifting, such as grocery shopping, is another part of recovery.

About six months after surgery, our therapists can help you assess your ability to participate in more strenuous exercise and a return to sports. Using the most advanced equipment, specialists at NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center can  assess and refine your movements to help protect your biceps tendon from future ruptures.

Our Research and Education in Distal Biceps Tendon Rupture

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.