Patient Stories

Alexander S. Croog, MD

Always willing to lend a hand, James was helping to dig out a friend’s car after a big snowstorm when the vehicle began rolling toward him. He jumped on the hood to get out of the way, putting all his weight on one arm. “I felt excruciating pain and heard a very loud snap,” recalls the 51-year-old engineer. All my friends looked up and said, ‘What was that?’”

Although he didn’t know it at the time, James had ruptured his distal biceps, the tendon attaching the biceps muscle to the elbow. The injury typically occurs when an unexpected straightening force is applied to a flexed elbow and the tendon is torn from the bone. He wore a sling for awhile, but the pain persisted. When he developed what he calls “Popeye arm” a bulge in his upper arm created by the recoiled, shortened biceps muscle—he knew he needed to see an orthopedist.

James consulted Alexander Croog, MD, a hand and upper extremity specialist at OrthoVirginia, who recommended immediate distal biceps repair surgery. The procedure was performed several weeks later at OrthoVirginia’s Outpatient Surgery Center. Dr. Croog repaired the tendon with sutures attached to a biocompatible metallic device, an advanced, less invasive technique that promotes faster recovery and return to daily activities.

James was able to go back to work at his engineering job two weeks after his surgery, and begin rehabilitation at OrthoVirginia a few weeks later. For five months, he worked with physical therapist Hugh McGee to strengthen his arm muscles and recover mobility.

Now, James has regained full range of motion and nearly 100% mobility in his arm and has returned to his volunteer position coaching middle schoolers in the Fairfax County Youth Basketball League. His experience at OrthoVirginia was so positive he recently sent his wife there for physical therapy after she sprained her ankle.

“Everything—from the surgery to the rehabilitation to the follow-up care—was first rate,” he says. “They have a great team that gets to know you as a person and always puts the patient first.”