Tricep injuries can be both painful and inconvenient. They involve damage to the triceps muscle on the back of your upper arm. Your tricep is vital to your arm as they help you perform everyday activities like pushing, pulling, and lifting objects.
However, it’s important to note that your triceps can be injured due to overexertion or other exercise or work-related activities. Some of the most common symptoms of tricep injuries include pain when using your tricep muscles, aches in your elbows, weakness, or limited range of motion in your arm.
The type of treatment used to treat tricep injuries depends on the severity. Mild cases can be treated at home, while severe cases should be directed to the doctor. This article explores the types of tricep injuries, causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention measures.
What are Tricep Injuries?
Your tricep muscles run from the shoulder to the elbow, allowing your arm to bend and straighten. And when the muscles are injured, your arm’s range of motion is impaired. Although tricep injuries are common, most of them heal on their own.
There are several types of tricep injuries. Most are characterized by pain during activity, swelling in affected areas, and weakness in arm movements such as straightening it out thoroughly after being bent at 90 degrees angle (elbow).
Types of Tricep Injuries
There are various kinds of triceps-related injuries; some common ones include:
This is a condition where you experience slight tears in your muscles. It is primarily due to overstretching your muscles beyond your limits, which leads to inflammation, most often accompanied by pain and discomfort when moving your arm.
If left untreated, you may experience mild soreness throughout affected sites before developing into much more intense pains. Therefore, you must take special care when using your arms daily.
Tendonitis is inflammation surrounding tendons that connect your bones and muscles. Overuse syndromes brought upon by constant stressing exertion imposed onto particular regions might cause microscopic tears that eventually evolve into full-blown cases if not addressed on time.
Therefore, you should always seek medical attention immediately after that before any further complications arise. You must also avoid heavy load-bearing tasks until given the go-ahead by your physician.
This is a severe condition whereby a complete tear occurs across major parts within the triceps muscles, exposing our innermost tissues. This causes severe instability and impairs normal functioning.
The damage is severe and can only be repaired through immediate surgical intervention.
This type of injury occurs when bones connected through the triceps become broken. This could be due to high-impact collisions relating directly to the area involved or general wear-and-tear owing to long-term use without proper maintenance measures.
What Causes Tricep Injuries?
Tricep tendonitis is the most common type of tricep injury, and it happens when you over-exert your tricep muscles, resulting in microtears. And if you don’t let yourself relax so your tears can heal and keep overworking them, they weaken your triceps, eventually leading to tendonitis.
Apart from repetitive overuse, other leading causes of tricep injuries include:
- Failure to warm up when exercising or playing sports that require constant use of your arms, such as basketball.
- Using the wrong techniques when exercising
- Abuse of anabolic steroids
- The rapid increase in the number of times you perform challenging repetitive arm movements
- Chronic ailments, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
- You may also injure your triceps after falling while your arm is stretched or bent
Symptoms of Tricep Injuries
If you feel discomfort in your arms, you are likely suffering from a tricep injury. Some of the symptoms that indicate damage in your triceps include.
- Localized tenderness and darkening of your skin tone around the infected site
- Pain while trying to perform specific activities
- Limited range of arm motion
- Swelling on the back of your arm near the elbow
- Weakness in your elbow, triceps, and shoulder
- Pain in your triceps, elbow, and shoulder
- A popping sound at the time of the injury
- A grating feeling when you move your arm
How to diagnose Tricep Injuries
The following tests can be done to determine the tricep injury and its severity.
- Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Joint Aspirations
Treatments for Triceps Injury
Depending on the severity of your injury, the following modes of treatment may be adopted.
Home remedies are effective in treating lower-grade tricep afflictions. Popular home remedies include:
Rest: After suffering a tricep injury, you should take plenty of rest time to allow your muscles to heal. Resting helps avoid irritating your tendons further.
Ice compression: While resting, it would help if you applied ice compression on the affected areas. This helps relieve pain and swelling.
Warm packs: It helps ease the pain in the damaged tendon. However, ensure that the swelling has gone down before applying warm packs, as they can further irritate the tendon, causing it to be more inflamed.
Braces: After injuring your tricep, you are advised to minimize your arm movement. You can do this by using bandages or wraps. Tie them around your arm to offer support till the inflammation goes down.
Elevate: You can also reduce discomfort and avoid irritating your arm through movement by keeping the injured area elevated. Many people opt for a sling that holds your arm in a stable position. This helps lower the swelling.
Your home remedies may be accompanied by over-the-counter (OTC) medication, which can help manage the pain and swelling. Some of the best OTC include ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen sodium.
Supposed over-the-counter medication fails to achieve the desired results; your physician may recommend advanced medicines. These include:
- Corticosteroid Injections
These injections help alleviate the pain and swelling. The medicine is injected in the area around your injured tendons. This line of medication is not ideal for injuries that have lasted for more than three months. This is because when used repeatedly, this injection can weaken your tendons, thus increasing your risks of getting severe injuries.
- Platelet-rich Plasma Injection
This type of treatment requires your doctor to withdraw blood from your body. Then they separate the platelets ad other blood factors that possess healing properties.
Then the platelets are then injected back into your body on the area around your tricep tendons. This gives your tendons sufficient nutrients to stimulate the muscle repair process.
This medication is effective in healing tendon tears. It is composed of 15 amino acids and is a body-protection compound. From the various reviews, it’s evident that BPC-157 can effectively cure tendonitis.
Physical therapy exercises are great for strengthening your arm muscles. They are also designed to increase flexibility in your arm, which is crucial for healing injuries.
You can do several exercises and stretches to rehabilitate your arm and help speed up your healing process. These exercises include.
- French Stretch
You can do this exercise while sitting on a chair or standing.
You must raise your hand above your head and clasp your fingers together.
Then ensure your elbows are close to your ears, bend your arms backward, and try to touch your back.
Retain your hand in that position for about 20 seconds before lifting them.
Repeat this movement at least six times.
- Elbow bend and straighten.
This is more like exercising your triceps and standing up with your hand hanging on your sides from fists. Then lift your hands till they are about to touch your shoulders and lower them slowly.
Repeat this exercise about 20 times.
- Static Tricep stretch
This is a straightforward exercise. You can do it while standing. Bend one of our arms at 90 degrees while forming a fist.
Then lift your other arm with your palm open and push it down with your fist. This helps tighten the tricep muscles in your injured arm.
Hold for about 5 seconds when pushing down to increase resistance.
Repeat the exercise about ten times.
- Towel Resistance
Another effective exercise for triceps injuries is using a towel to stretch your tendons.
Hold the towel at each end with your hand at the back.
Let your injured arm be at the top and the other hand at the bottom.
Then while holding the towel, lift your injured arm upwards while the other arm pulls down gently.
Hold this position for 5 to seconds ad relax your arms.
Repeat the exercise about ten times.
Caution: Work with a professional physiotherapist or occupational therapist during rehabilitation exercises to avoid causing further injuries.
Severe cases of a triceps injury, such as tendon rupture, require special attention care, with surgical intervention being the only option.
Tendon Repair: Tendon repair surgery aims to reattach the damaged tendon back to the area of your elbow, referred to as olecranon. This is part of your ulna. This surgery is done under general anesthesia.
An incision is made on your arm, and once the tendons are exposed, the surgeon uses bone anchors and suture anchors to reattach the tendon back to the ulna.
Graft: Studies show that graft augmentation has successfully been used to repair severely damaged tendons. In this case, your surgeon gets a portion of a tendon from another part of your body and uses it to improve your damaged tendon.
Note: After these surgeries, your hand will be immobilized and either in a splint or a brace. Your doctor may recommend wearing a sling. You must also attend physical therapy sessions as your arm heals to regain strength and arm motion.
Tips to prevent tricep Injuries
To prevent injuring your tricep tendon while working out, utilize these tips.
- Warm up before a workout
- Adopt the correct form when working out
- Don’t over-exert yourself
- Proper nutrition to enhance your overall wellbeing
When Should You Visit the Doctor
Mild tricep injuries heal after three days. However, if you don’t see any changes, you should see your physician for further diagnosis.
Tricep injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on the cause and extent of damage. It is essential to recognize all symptoms associated with triceps-related issues so that you can seek out appropriate medical treatment promptly.
Rest, ice therapy, medications, physical therapy, or even surgery are necessary to recover faster from an injury caused by a tricep tendon rupture or strain.