Ducati Lenovo MotoGP rider Jack Miller successfully underwent arm pump surgery on his right forearm to relieve the painful condition that hampered his performance in the first two Grands Prix of 2021. While that’s undoubtedly a relief to both him and his team, now comes the new challenge of recovering.
Miller was treated by Dr. Xavier Mir, who, along with his team, has taken care of many in the MotoGP paddock for a very long time. The current plan as of April 6 is for Miller to spend about 24 hours in the hospital prior to moving into physical rehabilitation.
"It was a short operation, and it went very well. I can't wait to start the rehabilitation. There are still ten days left before the next Grand Prix at Portimão [that MotoGP weekend runs from April 16 through 18, 2021]. If my recovery proceeds normally, I'll be able to be back on track in Portugal, even if not completely at my 100% fitness,” Miller said in a statement.
“I want to thank Dr Mir and all his team of the Dexeus Hospital for their availability and all the care they have given me,” he concluded.
If you’ve been paying attention to MotoGP for a while, you’ve probably heard something about arm pump. While some say it’s more common in motocross riders, plenty of MotoGP racers have experienced this painful and performance-reducing problem over the years. Many have had surgery to alleviate it. Sometimes, they may even end up having multiple surgeries, as Dani Pedrosa did. Fabio Quartararo, Stefan Bradl, and Cal Crutchlow—who had arm pump surgery on both arms—have all had and recovered from this surgery, to name a few.
So, what is arm pump? It’s the common name for chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS). Increased blood flow to highly exerted muscle tissue can cause discomfort and pain while it’s in use, simply because there’s only so much room in your muscles. Runners can experience this phenomenon in their legs, too. No matter what sport you participate in, it’s pretty much the opposite of a good time.
Now, when you’re done exerting yourself, the discomfort and pain usually go away once the amount of blood flowing through the affected muscles returns to normal. However, when you amp up the intensity of your activity again, it can all come rushing back.
The thing is, it’s not just painful. Your affected muscles usually also end up underperforming while it’s going on. To make matters worse, there is nothing an athlete can do about it in the moment. That’s why many MotoGP racers opt to undergo surgery, because it’s currently the best-known way to alleviate this condition.
Already in 2021, Miller isn’t the only racer in the paddock to have arm pump surgery. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Iker Lecuona also had the surgery on his right arm, and posted a thumbs-up photo from recovery on his Instagram account.
Lecuona may only be 21 years old, but he’s already had two previous arm pump surgeries prior to this most recent one. Like Miller, he too has been battling arm pump for both of the first two race weekends of the 2021 season. Lecuona also intends to go all-in on his rehabilitation so that he can be back on track in Portimão. Here’s wishing both Lecuona and Miller good, speedy, and complete recoveries.