After a year of really, really great destination half-marathons (Brooklyn, Vancouver, Kauai), I'm taking a break from running for a bit.
So let's just get it out there - I didn't run the NYC Marathon because I'm injured.
I am still raising money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital (technically I've deferred to next year) and would so, so, so appreciate any donation you're able to give. Donate here.
Amazing how saying it... doesn't make it any better at all. Imagine that.
I'm not good at being injured or having physical limitations. I'm really bad at slowing down.
And yet, I've had to do just that.
My runs have turned into long walks.
Weights are 1-2 lbs and nothing overhead.
I'm the one modifying exercises at Pilates.
Cutting to the chase, I have a Biceps Tendon Tear.
What does that mean?
The Biceps tendons attach the biceps muscle to bones in the shoulder and in the elbow.
Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made up of 3 bones: 1) the upper-arm bone (humerus), 2) the shoulder blade (scapula), and 3) the collar bone (clavicle).
The biceps muscle has 2 tendons that attach it to the shoulder and travel the entire length of the upper arm and insert just below the elbow. There is a "long head" of the biceps muscle and a "short head".
A tear can either be partial, when part of the tendon remains intact and only a portion is torn away from the bone, or complete, where the entire tendon is torn away from the bone.
Likely overuse and a result of wearing it down overtime. I changed up my fitness routine to include a lot of weights this summer/fall and a lot of overhead exercises. Most of them repetitive. Specifically I was doing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide - there's quite a bit of overhead exercises, push-ups, burpees, etc.
How was it diagnosed?
I noticed about 6 weeks ago that I was having this weird, intense, non-muscular pain when I would lift my straight arm out in front of me. Reaching up to grab anything hurt. Even driving was uncomfortable (spoiler: you apparently use your shoulders for EVERYTHING.) After a couple of weeks of rest didn't change anything, I went to an Orthopedic Specialist, who, after a practical exam and an ultra-sound for imagery, confirmed it was the Biceps Tendon. Whether it's a partial or full tear remains to be seen. (If there's no change/improvement after a couple more weeks of PT, an MRI can confirm that full extent of the injury).
I've received a cortisone shot from my Orthopedic Specialist, and have been going to Physical Therapy 2x a week for the last few weeks. A mix of the Graston Technique (really pleasant), UltraSound Therapy, and Rotator Cuff/Mid and Lower Trap strengthening exercises.
I'm laying off any type of intense exercise and instead doing a lot of walking, Pilates, and some barre. Running for any longer than 30 minutes aggravates it, so ultimately, running a marathon was out. The Bay Club and ALL the cardio machines, all the rollers, thera-bands and mat Pilates classes are essentially saving my life.
How's it feeling?
It feels like it's getting better and that my range of motion without pain is improving but then there are days where it's totally painful again and I feel like I'm back at Square 1. The cortisone shot should apparently last ~3 weeks and it's been about that, so I'm a little worried that the "feeling better" was merely just the Cortisone actually working vs. the tendon getting better.
So that's where I'm at. Taking it a day at a time. Trying to baby it, while also doing my PT exercises every day, walking pretty much everywhere, and modifying as needed at Pilates or any other class.
And honestly, if something doesn't feel right, don't push through it. I'm guilty of that a LOT but it got to a point where I knew something was wrong and I needed to get it checked out.
The end goal? To avoid surgery at all costs.