Sudden Bicep pain after rotator cuff and bicep repair

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I am 6 weeks post rotator cuff/SAD/bicep tenodesis. Everything was going normal until today at 6 weeks when I was allowed to remove my sling. I slept fine and woke up with no pain. I got up, happily removed sling, went to bathroom, pulled up my pants and went to adjust pants by slightly reaching behind and got a stabbing, knifelike, cramping in my biceps. I went to lie in bed, struggled to put the sling back on...started walking to kitchen and the bicep started stabbing and cramping again. I almost passed out from the pain. I have called my Ortho (he was in surgery today) and sent e mail to my PT for advice and have not heard from either of them. I can do pendulums without pain and the shoulder flexion exercise carefully, but any bicep movement and it starts to cramp and stab at me. I am now scared that my arm will never get better and don't know how this good go from good to bad so quickly. Has this ever happened to anyone? I hope I hear back from my Dr tomorrow. I am really worried. 

8 likes, 151 replies

151 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi ricochetred

    I would try to keep anxiety in check although I appreciate that's easier said than done. Your arm has been virtually immobile for 6 weeks so any additional movement is new to it. I was in horrible pain at 6 weeks and continue to have pain also in biceps at 5 months! My surgeon/physio assure me I am doing great, ahead of the game but that this is normal.

    Can you take NSAIDs, might be worth trying those in case it is inflamed.

    Hope you get some replies but good luck, recovery is a long journey.

    good wishes



    • Posted

      I am at 10 weeks and PT triggered stabbing pains. Doc says not to worry. Rest. Did yours improve with time?
    • Posted

      It did finally calm down. that was 2 years ago for me. I have been back to work and cycling and gym workouts . I do still have occasional tendon discomfort when I have used my shoulder a lot, but I think it's as good as it's gonna get. when I was getting the nerve stabbing pains I used rest, ice, positioning and then proceeding with cautious movement the next day. It's a process. Hope you are are doing better.

  • Posted

    I'm 8 weeks post op today and According to my PT and doctor at 6 weeks it's unlikely I would re injur bicep or shoulder repairs unless I did something very drastic- hope that helps to ease your concerns. As far as the pain, my experience has been that the worst pain I've had was after I got out of sling at 6 weeks and started PT and trying to use arm. I cannot move arm behind my back at all still so likely you just upset the area but likely you didn't damage it. The pain with movement after being out of sling in my experience can be horrendous but if I ice rest and take ibuprofen if passes with time- a few hours to a day it can take me. Hope this helps and know you will get better and stronger and be pain free it just takes time- or so that's what they tell me!

  • Posted

    So sorry to hear how you're feeling, I know it's tough but you'll get through it. Try not to over do it just because you feel a little better hang tough keep trying to contact your doctor if you're not feeling well, worse case go to the ER. Hope you feel better soon. It's been three weeks for me, I had my surgery Feb. 24th I didn't have a tear in my rotator cuff as the doctor thought I did. At least that's what the MRI indicated, instead there was some falsification that was scraping the tendon which was causing my pain so he cleared it out. But I did have issue with my bicep tendon. I had to wear my sling/immobilizer for two weeks. At my two week follow up the stitches came off and I scheduled my physical therapy sessions today is my third session. I was told by my doctor to wear my sling for two more weeks if I went out and about, but I really haven't been out much. Since I've been home I didn't need to wear the sling. So needless to say I'm coming along as best I can but find it hard moving my arm as before due to the fact it was in the sling nonstop for two weeks.

  • Posted

    Hello there.  Inhale and exhale, repeat...Yes.  You are not alone.  I have gone through this too.  I am seven weeks out of surgery.  I accidentally tore three of the r cuff muscle tendons; two completely off the humeral head.  Sneaky black ice in the dark.  If you are familiar with Charlie Brown and his Peanuts Gang, I flew like Charlie Brown when Lucy yanks the football away.  Only my feet were higher, and I was coming down (back of the) head first.  I reached down with my hand in an attempt to break the fall.  The heel of my hand made contact with the frozen pavement as the force of the contact drove up through my wrist, elbow, shoulder.  My shoulder dislocated ripping the three r cuff tendons (YUCK and HOLY COW!!).  Eleven weeks and four days out from the injury (12/26/16).  After my first PT, I thought OMG are the screws pulled out?  Did the sutures come apart?  Why is my bicep so painful.  Why is the humeral head jutting out?  My elbow, why is it screaming in pain intermittently?  Tears streaming solely from the horrific pain.  The sling with foam block?  Bulking, cumbersome!?! Frustration and concern.  Rx not strong enough to knock out the pain.  Let's figure it out and process the situation.   Deep sigh.  It will be okay.Deep breath.  Slow and steady.  Let the bicep rest until your doctor checks it.  Steady.  Keep your wits.  Let the eyes water when you need too.  This is a difficult recovery, but you/we will make it.  Good Luck, stay calm.  Post an update.  You will be okay!!.

    • Posted

      Did you ever improve? I was doing excellent until the 6th week of PT.

      Then I got stabbing pains not during PT but after and they don't go away very quickly.

      Pain rx not very good.  Surgeon says rest two weeks. not concerned.  Help!!

    • Posted

      Hello David. Just read this ... How are you now? I'm fine. Rerepaired 6/2/2017 . 5.5 wks out if the re-repair. I'm we it a different PT and it's going well. Rarely using otc pills. Not much pain. Icing often. Passive room pt moving arm ,145 degrees today. Really uneventful compared to original surgery 1/27/17. It's good.

    • Posted

      I m fearing a repair failure because of the stab

      Nobody concerned but me. PT is ok but AFTER is bad stab.

  • Posted

    I agree with the other posters here. I am about 5 months post op and have had a tendonesis like you. I didn't have your level of pain but coming out of that sling and doing the PT was faily brutal. Now I have about 90% range of movement and I am still doing some of the exercises. I can also do weights with curls (albeit light). Unless you've damaged something, which is unlikely, you'll be fine in the long run. I am 68 years old.

    • Posted

      Sorry, my mistake! I had a tendonectomy not a tendonesis.
  • Posted

    Thanks for the input and ecouragement. The PT responded via e mail and  said don't push it with exercises and he'll see me Monday and the Dr has not called. The thing that really bothers me is that I had been walking in the house already a little without the sling and was doing fine with the PT exercises. It was pretty much business as usual, and I am no stranger to pain as I broke my neck and face 8 years ago in a cycle accident and had spinal cord injury. I am now 58 and I am also a this seemed way out of the ordinary type of pain for the little stretch that my arm got. At any rate, I am using the sling without the pillow now and the biceps belly feels like it's been mule kicked. If I flex when I'm already at 90 degrees it starts to cramp and stab but I can do very gentle flexion below 90. I'm just being very careful how I move my arm and avoiding intentional biceps contractions till I see the Dr on Tuesday. I know nothing will happen on the weekend so will just try to sit tight. Thanks again for comments...even though I'm a PT, I'm not a very good patient and I did not work with shoulder patients often as the OT's usually got them and I did home health for the last 21 years so usually see people in the first month after surgery when they are in the protection mode. Hope you all have a pain free weekend. 

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