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Triceps Tendon Rupture


Your triceps is the three-sectioned muscle located on the back of your upper arm. Connected to the arm bone by a tendon, the triceps muscle enables you to extend the elbow fully and straighten the arm. When the tendon connecting the triceps and the bone ruptures, the triceps may lose its ability to affect the bone. A triceps tendon rupture can cause arm weakness and make it difficult for you to perform activities that require straightening the elbow. If you’re suffering from this serious condition, it’s important that you seek immediate attention from a board-certified orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Eric Millstein.

Causes of Triceps Tendon Rupture

Although the condition is relatively rare, a triceps tendon rupture can occur as a result of overuse or from a trauma such as a fall or injury that places strain on the tendon and causes the fibers to tear.

Excessive weight lifting and participating in sports like boxing or gymnastics, which may involve overusing the elbow, can lead to triceps tendon ruptures. Additionally, people suffering from certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic renal failure and lupus and those who use anabolic steroids may bear a higher risk of developing a triceps tendon tear. If you’re experiencing an inability to straighten your elbow, or one of the other symptoms listed below, it’s important to seek medical attention before the condition worsens.

Triceps Tendon Rupture Symptoms

The following symptoms may occur as a result of a triceps tendon rupture:elbow swelling

  • elbow swelling
  • pain or tenderness in the triceps muscle
  • pain when straightening the elbow/inability to straighten the arm fully
  • arm weaknesses
  • a bulge or bump in the arm
  • a popping sound or sensation in the elbow

Dr. Millstein will likely perform a physical examination and order an MRI or X-rays to confirm a triceps tendon rupture diagnosis.

Preventing Triceps Tendon Ruptures

You can do a great deal to reduce your risk of suffering a triceps tendon rupture. It’s important to warm up your muscles by stretching before a workout. You should also make sure that you’re performing activities like weight lifting using the correct techniques; ask a trainer or coach to demonstrate the activity if you have questions. Further, it’s important to allow your muscles time to rest and recover in between workouts and maintain good cardiovascular health. Taking these steps can help prevent you from straining the triceps tendon.

In most cases, patients who have already suffered a triceps tendon rupture will need surgery to repair the rupture and avoid elbow extension pain or weakness.

Schedule a Consultation

Based in Beverly Hills, Dr. Millstein is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with unique expertise in the treatment of sports injuries like triceps tendon rupture. He provides state-of-the-art, effective surgical procedures and therapies with the goals of minimizing pain and getting you back to living life. Contact Dr. Millstein for a consultation by calling (310) 595-1030 or schedule an appointment online.

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