What is Triceps Tendonitis ?

The triceps tendon is a tough, flexible tissue that attaches the triceps muscle at the back of the upper arm to the elbow bone. It helps triceps muscles to straighten your arm.

Repeated strain on a tendon can cause tiny micro-tears in the tissue. The body will try to heal these tears, but sometimes they are made faster than the body can fix them. As the number of tears increases, they can cause pain from inflammation, weaken the tendon, and cause larger tears in the tissue.

Repeatedly extending or hyperextending the arm — as you might do when hammering, throwing a baseball, boxing, or doing gymnastics — can stress the triceps tendon. This can cause pain in the back of the elbow. When this happens, the tendon will swell and sometimes also become red. As the tendonitis gets worse, the outside of the tendon, called a sheath, can thicken or get bigger, and get darker red in color. Most of the time, when the tendon turns a darker shade of red, it is because of the inflammation in the tendon.

 

Sometimes tendonitis can cause the tendon to tear. Most of the time, triceps tendonitis is caused over time by overuse. Triceps tendonitis can also occur with shoulder and elbow problems that have caused damage to the area, such as arthritis, muscle tears, or dislocation. Often, triceps tendonitis can get better with simple rest. At times, medicine may be needed to help the pain get better.

Symptoms

Pain and weakness in the triceps, shoulders, or elbows are the most common symptoms of triceps tendonitis. Pain will often get worse when trying to use the triceps, such as in pushing or pulling motions with the arm.

 

Other symptoms

Achiness in the shoulder, triceps, or elbow

Snapping sounds or sensations in the shoulder or elbow

Occasional swelling at the back of the elbow

 

Causes

 

Triceps tendonitis is often caused by activities that require forcefully extending the elbow. Examples include throwing a baseball, hammering, bench presses, and gymnastics. These activities can cause more strain if you quickly increase how hard or how often you do them. Having tight arm muscles or some arm muscles are a lot stronger than others can also increase stress on the triceps tendon. Most of these risks can be reduced with proper warming up and training. Tendonitis can also be related to a disease such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or infection.