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Thread: Torn triceps tendon

  1. #1
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    Default Torn triceps tendon

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    I posted something about bursitis ten or so days ago, but today I saw an orthopedic surgeon who says a torn tendon is more likely, based on what hurts. He says bursitis shouldn't cause pain when activating the triceps, which is something I thought just from looking at internet drawings of where the bursa lies.

    He thinks the bursitis is a result of the torn tendon. Still, we don't know for sure until we do an MRI next week.

    He expressed the opinion that someone my age (57) ought not to be lifting heavy and said this was probably a direct result of that. Assuming I can get back to lifting, he said higher reps would be safer. I'm a bit despondent because the goal I've had for myself was a 300 lb bench and I was getting very close, and now I think it's probably out of my reach.

    Until I can start benching again, how effective are chest flies in maintaining upper body strength? Any other suggestions on alternative exercises that don't require triceps?

  2. #2
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    Things like chest flys, DB raises, and cable crossovers are not very effective at maintaining upper body strength but I would still do them anyway. It helps keep the habit of getting in the gym and moving some weight around. I wouldn't count your self out of that goal yet. Wait to see if it is a significant tear or if it's just normal age related changes and you're just dealing with a standard tendinopathy. These are a pain in the ass and take a long time to go away but they don't need surgery, just training management.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for a positive outlook. I'm still hoping it's a bursa thing; I had him drain it and it definitely feels better.

  4. #4
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    You're welcome man! Even if it is a moderate tear it's going to be your decision if you want to continue to lift heavy weights. I would look around this forum for people that have been in similar situations (have injury, above 50, and told by doctor to stop). Also check out the barbell perscription before you make a decision on what you want to do moving forward.

    Obviously the goal of training switches from building strength to building up your elbow's load tolerance for your upper body stuff but you still should be able to push on squats and deadlifts even if they have to be modified slightly.

    Good luck and keep us updated.

  5. #5
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    I can speak to this. I had a tricep tendon rupture. I was 51 when it happened. After surgery and recovery, it's fine. I can lift as heavy as I want and it causes no problems at all.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalan View Post
    I can speak to this. I had a tricep tendon rupture. I was 51 when it happened. After surgery and recovery, it's fine. I can lift as heavy as I want and it causes no problems at all.
    Weren't you worried that it would reoccur? Did you adjust your training in any way to minimize the risk?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dust Devil View Post
    Weren't you worried that it would reoccur? Did you adjust your training in any way to minimize the risk?
    Everyone who has a serious injury while training deals with these types of questions. One of my worst training injuries was an extremely bad grade 2 pec tear through the muscle belly. I was told by the orthopedic surgeon that because of the location of the tear that they couldn't do surgery (he specifically said it would be like sewing together hamburger meat). I was CONSTANTLY worried that it would retear. At the time of the injury my PR single was 330lbs. The fear he instilled in me kept me from doing any benching for 5 months. 11 months after the injury I benched 295 for a single scared shitless that it was going to tear again. At about 18 months I hit 340 for a single in a bench only meet. It took well over 2 years before I actually stopped actively worrying if it would reoccur. I minimized risk going forward by not making stupid decisions. On days when things didn't feel right with my pec I didn't push the boundaries of my ability. When I was at near limit I made sure I had a spotter or safety arms in place just in case. You are obviously experiencing a different injury but struggling with those questions are a normal part of the process that you need to work through as your training. I know this doesn't give you any answers but hopefully it lets you know that these thoughts are normal and something that we all work through in our own way.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dust Devil View Post
    Weren't you worried that it would reoccur? Did you adjust your training in any way to minimize the risk?
    My .02 is this. I was definitley worried about recurrence of injury. The demons are hard to get rid of for sure. I use them nowadays to be smart. Understand the RISK of injury is still there. Now, I focus on ensuring my form is impeccable, my concentration on my ques is spot on, and I listen to my body during warmups. Sometimes, my body says to me “don’t f with me today son”. So I listen and adjust.

    As others have said though, even when I have setbacks due to minor injury, I still find hope in coming back with a plan to better attack my progress SMARTER, with better form, and less ego.

    I hope this helps. I use it to constantly remind myself of my overall purpose which is to stay in the game as long as possible. The same applies to my Jiu Jitsu game.

  9. #9
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    "I use it to constantly remind myself of my overall purpose which is to stay in the game as long as possible."

    During my examination, my orthopedist had a bit of a smirk on his face. He eventually said something to the effect: "I know your type, trying to push off the effects of aging by driving your bodies past the point they're now capable of. Most of them end up here eventually."

    What he insinuated is that tearing a tendon or something as inevitable, particularly as we age, yet your story & Nick's, where you go past the point where the injury occurred, suggests there are other causes besides merely exceeding structural limitations and no one seems to know for sure what they are.

    Well, I'm not going to spend too much time worrying how to prevent injury again before I learn what exactly the injury is, which I should learn next Wednesday.

    Thanks for the thoughts, guys.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dust Devil View Post
    Weren't you worried that it would reoccur? Did you adjust your training in any way to minimize the risk?
    No. They anchored the tendon back on to the bone so it's not going anywhere. Something like Nick described would be more worrisome. Just being cautious while it healed, as with any injury, is about it.

    As a side note, the previous year I had a tricep tear at the elbow in my other arm. It wasn't terrible and I didn't get surgery on it and it now where it tore attaches a bit higher than it did. It is noticeably weaker on tricep exercises as extension approaches.

    As another side note, both of my elbows killed me for literally years. Nothing I tried seemed to help. Not time off, not ice, not wraps, not any of the tendonitis cures, nothing. Benching an empty bar hurt like hell. After I tore shit off of both elbows, they feel great, lol.

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