Triceps Tendonitis

Triceps tendonitis is inflammation of the triceps tendon, the tissue that connects the triceps muscle on the back of the upper arm to the back of the elbow joint, allowing you to straighten your arm back after you have bent it.

Symptoms

Triceps tendonitis is characterized by a pain or aches in the triceps area, elbow or shoulder, swelling, weakness, reduced arm movement and a bulge near the elbow.

Causes

Triceps tendonitis can occur due to an acute injury or repetitive overuse. Activities that can lead to triceps tendonitis include:

Risk factors for developing triceps tendonitis include using anabolic steroids, medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, not warming up properly before exercise and not using proper technique while performing a repetitive movement.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will conduct a thorough examination of your shoulder, arm, triceps and elbow to identify the site of inflammation and the movements that cause pain. X-rays, ultrasound and MRI scans may be suggested to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

First-line treatment options include rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE protocol).

If conservative treatment does not provide relief, surgery is performed. Through surgery the tendon can be cut and reattached to an area of the elbow called the olecranon (tendon repair) or may require grafting. With grafting, a bone graft (transplanted bone tissue) is placed on the damaged site to fill the gap after removal of the damaged tendon.