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Elbow surgery
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bootlegger


Sep 29, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Registered: Apr 24, 2005
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Elbow surgery
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Has anyone gone through a surgical repair for a partially torn flexor tendon (near the medial epicondyle) in the elbow? After all the non-surgical options didn't help, MRI confirmed the tear. Got it scheduled with an excellent surgeon who specializes in elbow / shoulder work on athletes, but interested in what the recovery/rehab is like and how long it'll take to get back into climbing.


onceahardman


Sep 29, 2010, 3:12 PM
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Re: [bootlegger] Elbow surgery [In reply to]
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Haven't had it myself, but I've treated several.

You can expect to start with pretty gentle range-of-motion exercise. Once your range returns to nearly normal (maybe 4 weeks more or less, depending upon severity of injury, skill of surgeon, age, and your own propensity for healing), you'll begin the strengthening phase, again starting with fairly gentle progressive resistive exercises (PREs) and moving on to more functional activities from there.

Please listen to the surgeon, and aside from focusing only on how long it takes to get back into climbing, think also about what you do to make a living. Don't rush the climbing so much, then screw yourself over, only to find out you can no longer work a physical job, due to the pain in your elbow.

I'll stop scolding now.

Be ready for 3-4 months to return to easy climbing, and 6-12 months to getting as good as it will ever be.

Good luck, and please post your progress, so that others can benefit from your experience.


bootlegger


Oct 4, 2010, 4:12 PM
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Re: [onceahardman] Elbow surgery [In reply to]
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Thanks for the insight. Pretty consistent with what the surgeon described. Scheduled for the end of the month...


bootlegger


Dec 8, 2010, 5:43 PM
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Re: [bootlegger] Elbow surgery [In reply to]
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4 weeks post-surgery update: surgeon put in two anchors and reattached the torn portion of the flexor tendon at the origin of the medial epicondyle. I thnk he did a little "clean up" of damaged tendon as well. Has had me in a brace that prevents any rotation of the elbow, but allows ROM in one plane, Has not allowed any strengthening or lifting yet. ROM return has been very slow from my perspective. Can straighten out completely, but can only flex 108 degrees so far, and the other arm ROM is 145 degrees (I'm told "normal" is about 135). Elbow is still very tight. Go back to see him next week.
For you PT's out there, my current PT doesn't seem to have any experience with this particular injury/surgery and is being quite conservative on ROM. I'm concerned I'm not getting ROM back quickly enough. Any perspectives?


jeepnphreak


Dec 10, 2010, 4:29 PM
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Re: [bootlegger] Elbow surgery [In reply to]
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bootlegger wrote:
4 weeks post-surgery update: surgeon put in two anchors and reattached the torn portion of the flexor tendon at the origin of the medial epicondyle. I thnk he did a little "clean up" of damaged tendon as well. Has had me in a brace that prevents any rotation of the elbow, but allows ROM in one plane, Has not allowed any strengthening or lifting yet. ROM return has been very slow from my perspective. Can straighten out completely, but can only flex 108 degrees so far, and the other arm ROM is 145 degrees (I'm told "normal" is about 135). Elbow is still very tight. Go back to see him next week.
For you PT's out there, my current PT doesn't seem to have any experience with this particular injury/surgery and is being quite conservative on ROM. I'm concerned I'm not getting ROM back quickly enough. Any perspectives?

Be patient with the recovery, most likely you elbow will never quite be back as the un-injured one. usually the surgeon will tighten the connection up and over the coarse of months you will re stretch it with PT. if you push it too fast and re injure the elbow before it strobg enough you might get lucky the a repair job on the repair job could get it to 50% of what it was ( kiss climbing good bye for ever).

next I would find a PT that does have experience with an elbow recovery. Your surgeon should have a list of PTs that he recommends.

I just had rotator cuff surgery two weeks ago, and my surgeon said I will be lucky to be climbing in 6-8 months. ( oh and one handed typing sucks)


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