How a Ballroom Dancer With a Bicep Tear Got His Groove Back

Portrait of IHTSC patient Doug P. who had surgery to repair a bicep tear

For Doug P., not getting back on the dance floor wasn’t an option. Doug took the lead on his recovery after others told him his dancing days were over because of a bicep tear injury. He sought a second opinion from Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center and got expert care that helped him regain function and perform again.

This is his story.

Doug P.’s patient story

Hometown: Carmel, IN
Age: 63

A swing and … a misstep

From personal experience, I can tell you that becoming a ballroom dancer isn’t a simple process. But then, the education and work required to repair a bicep tear aren’t easy either, as I discovered during my treatment at Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center. In fact, it’s a bit like ballroom dancing.

I got injured after a freak accident while learning a fast-paced jive routine. I met with two doctors who told me that my busted wing meant my ballroom days were over.

Then, I went to see Dr. Kathryn Peck for my bicep tear, and she gave me hope.

I showed her the iPhone video of my misstep, and she beamed with confidence that she could fix my bicep tear. I knew right then it was the beginning of a whole new dance.

The bicep tear surgeon and the ballroom dancer

Dancers, like surgeons and their patients, must put themselves in the care of each other. They rely on each other and must be in sync to reach the desired outcome. With Dr. Peck in charge of caring for my bicep tear, I was ready to completely and confidently follow her lead.

The shared goal of bicep tear surgery and ballroom dancing is to make the complex appear simple so that the result is more than the sum of its steps. This requires listening, understanding, and good communication throughout.

Practice and repetition are essential, but just as no two performances are the same, neither are any two patients. What worked with one may not work with another. The best surgeons for bicep tears, like Dr. Peck, are just like the best on the dance floor. They have a plan and know—by instinct—when nuance is needed. When, how, and where small changes are made can make all the difference.

Getting back into the swing of things

Those who watch from the sideline will never understand all that is required on the dance floor or in an operating suite, and they don’t need to. That’s because when you have someone as proficient as Dr. Peck, you can be assured you’re in the hands of someone you can trust, whether you have a bicep tear or other serious injury.

Dr. Peck has an upbeat sense of confidence and competence. She has the warm ability to put others at ease and make them feel comfortable in her care.

From following a recovery routine that sometimes challenged me to learn how to listen to the rhythm of my body in a way I had never done before my bicep tear, I knew I was on the road to recovery with someone who really understood the art of the dance.

Where occupational therapy and magic collide

The Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center therapy facility is a busy place, not a place of pain. It’s a location where everyone works to make things better—with hope and good humor.

When I was getting my stitches removed, I asked the occupational therapist Katie if she had any advice on using my bicep tear “victim status” to my advantage with my wife. She said: “We do occupational therapy here, sir. Not marriage therapy.” I like people who are clear about what they do and don’t do.

After surgery, I spent most of my time in occupational therapy for my bicep tear with the talented Jessica. She is all about what someone can safely do, never what they can’t.

I was measured, stretched, educated, and evaluated at each session. I feel lucky to have been under her guidance during this stage of my healing journey from my bicep tear. She is an excellent listener who is committed to—and trusts—the occupational therapy process.

Life after distal bicep repair surgery

Today, I’m healed from my bicep tear and back on the ballroom floor with my wife Debby as my partner. We’ve begun to add more choreography to our routines. I’m making progress again, but in different ways than I had anticipated.

Our jive routine that caused my bicep tear injury is less harried and more intentional, and our waltz is more balanced and lyrical. My leads are decisive and confident.

Is a bicep tear injury keeping you from doing what you love?

Surgery to repair a torn bicep can deliver pain relief and bring back mobility for some people after a severe injury.

Since 1972, patients from across Indiana and throughout the country have trusted Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s world-class upper extremity specialists. 

An experienced upper extremity specialist can diagnose your condition and help you explore the best treatments options available.

If you have an injury—like Doug P.’s bicep tear—that other specialists have told you is untreatable, make an appointment for a second opinion from an expert at Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center.

We specialize in treating patients with all types of upper extremity injuries, like bicep tears. Our unsurpassed expertise is so well-known that we’re often the preferred specialists that other doctors turn to when they need care—for themselves, their families, or their patients. 

Experts in pain relief

Since 1972, patients from across Indiana and throughout the country have trusted Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s world-class upper extremity specialists

“From our first introduction, I trusted Dr. Peck to take the lead and let me follow. I knew she could treat my bicep tear and get me back on the dance floor.”—Doug P., Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center patient

Can IHTSC treat my bicep tear?

IHTSC is the right place to come when you need the best orthopedic specialist.

Whether your pain is due to an injury—like a bicep tear—or another medical condition, our entire upper extremity team has the know-how, experience, and training to treat common and more complex shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand disorders.

How do I see an IHTSC specialist?

Request an appointment today, and take the first step to pain relief from a bicep tear or other condition. Prefer to schedule by phone? Call us at (317) 751-5904.

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Disclaimer: The materials on this website have been prepared for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice. You should not act or rely upon any medical information on this website without a physician’s advice. The information contained within this website is not intended to serve as a substitution for a thorough examination from a qualified healthcare provider. The display of this information is not intended to create a health care provider-patient relationship between the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center and you.