Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

I was working a construction site when a heavy load fell on my arm. I tore the biceps tendon in two places. After surgery I noticed quite a bit of swelling along with numbness and tingling in my arm. How long will this last?

Answer:

You didn't mention how long ago you had the injury and surgery. Most soft tissue healing takes place in six to eight weeks. The swelling may be causing the numbness and tingling as the fluid takes up space and puts pressure on the nerve.

You have probably been given suggestions to reduce swelling in the arm. Follow your doctor or therapist's advice carefully.

Have someone help you measure your arm in several places above, below, and at the level of the swelling. Wrap a plastic tape measure around the arm against the skin for the measurement. Don't apply any pressure or pull the tape tight.

Compare these measurements to the other arm. Your dominant arm is usually slightly larger than the nondominant side. Swelling, of course, will increase the circumference. The idea is to compare the measures over time and see if the swelling is going down. You should see your doctor if there's any sign that the swelling is getting worse instead of better.

Sunil Sharma, FRCS, and Gordon MacKay, FRCS. Endoscopic Repair of Distal Biceps Tendon Using an EndoButton. In Arthroscopy. July 2005. Vol. 21. No. 7. Pp. 897.e1-897.e4.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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