Arm Pump Update: Pedrosa Has Surgery Tuesday, Bradl To Be Operated Wednesday

Jerez was a tough round for MotoGP riders. Stefan Bradl suffered severe arm pump during the race on Sunday, where he finished in 10th place. But it seems that Dani Pedrosa was also suffering from a similar problem, despite riding to 3rd just short Valentino Rossi.

Despite not mentioning the problem all weekend, Pedrosa underwent surgery on Tuesday to help correct the problem. He was operated on by MotoGP's favorite Spanish surgeon, Dr Xavier Mir, who used microsurgery to expand the fascia in the muscles in his right forearm. The surgery was deemed a success, and Pedrosa will be released from hospital tomorrow morning.

Stefan Bradl will be entering hospital for a similar operation just as Pedrosa is returning home. Bradl already had surgery in Barcelona, from the same Dr Mir, back in 2012, which fixed the problem in the rear part of his arm. Now, however, Bradl is suffering problems in the front of his arm, and is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday morning in Germany, according to Speedweek

Both men should be fit for Le Mans, in two weeks time. Having surgery ahead of Le Mans was important, as the French circuit is very heavy on the brakes. This creates a lot of stress for riders' forearms, causing the muscle fibers to swell up and become trapped inside the fascia (the layer containing the muscle fibers), causing pain and a loss of blood flow.

Below is the press release from Repsol Honda on Pedrosa's surgery:

Pedrosa undergoes successful operation to treat compartmental syndrome

Repsol Honda rider, Dani Pedrosa, has undergone surgery to his right forearm on Tuesday morning, in a procedure carried out by Dr. Mir at the Hospital Universitario Quirón Dexeus and is confident he will recover in time for the French GP.

After an intense weekend of action at the Spanish Grand Prix, where Dani missed out on second place by just 0.098s, followed by a positive day of testing on Monday, Dani received surgery this morning to treat compartmental syndrome, in order to fix an ailment common amongst World Championship riders.

Due to discomfort in his right forearm, Dani was initially examined by Dr. Mir. After the consultation it was decided to carry out the operation immediately, in order to increase Dani’s chances to compete in the upcoming French Grand Prix. Dr. Mir used two incisions to enter the forearm, freeing the flexor and prone-extensor muscles in the appendage via minimally invasive microsurgery.

Dani will remain in hospital for 24 hours, and will need to keep his arm immobile for some days. Following this, he will begin functional recovery. If his healing progress goes according to plan, Dani should be able to take part in the next race on the MotoGP calendar, held in ten days at Le Mans, France.

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I can not remember that VR46 ever had that problem with arm pump.
What is the real reason behind that issue?
During my own racing I had the same trouble, but it had to do with me not beeing a world class rider:)I was under trumendous stress.
Could it be rather a psychological issue?
I´m guessing of course, but so many riders have several operations and the issue stays.

my guess is that TOP-sport is never ever good for the health of the sportsmen, and that every type of sport has it's own physical problems (tennis-elbow's, footballer's knees, ...)

My personal, highly unscientific, thoughts on armpump based on just 11 years of racing motorcycles, are that they are several different reasons for it. It can be one of these reasons, or a combination of several, that finally makes you to succumb to the dreaded armpump devil...

Psychology - If you are stressed, nervous, uneasy, or anxious before- and during a race. You tend to tense up and hold on harder to the grips, ride the bike a bit more aggressive with harder braking and harder acceleration, almost stopping mid corner. This causes more stress on the forearms, and is a reason for armpump. If you relax and focus on breathing, you can actually prevent, or minimize armpump.

Physical condition - If you are well trained, and have trained hard (and right) both cardio and pure strength, you minimize the risk of armpump. Mind you, as I have personally experienced in the early years of my racing, if you train in the wrong way, you can actually make the problem worse.

Bike setup/ergonomics - By adjusting the seating position, clipon position, lever position, brake lever ratio, throttle tube ratio, etc. You can make the armpump problem better, or worse.

Riding style - Different riding styles affect the armpump issues i different way. Smoother riders that doesn't brake as hard, and keep their cornerspeed up, tend to have less armpump than more aggressive riders. By altering you riding style you can minimize the effect of armpump.

Genetics - All humans are built different. Some have a tighter muscle sack than others, from birth, and are more likely to have bigger problems when racing bikes...

By attending to all those things, you can minimize or cure your armpump problems completely, unless they are of the genetic kind. This will require surgery to fix. Someriders also use the surgery as an easier way out, than adjusting all the other points above. A quick nip, a couple of stitches, and you're done...

All that said, I'm pretty sure most of the superhuman MotoGP riders, with all their personal trainers and well oiled crews around them, have most of the above covered pretty good. Which leaves the last one...