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Triceps Tendonitis

What is Triceps Tendonitis? 

It is a condition in which there is inflammation in the triceps tendon causing pain in the back of the elbow.



  • Pain. Increased sensitivity and pain down the length of the tendon, or localised pain on the back of the elbow.

  • Weakness. During activities which require the elbow extension.

  • Swelling. Less common than pain and weakness, it's possible that there's swelling around the elbow.



The triceps passes behind the shoulder joint and ends at the back of the forearm after crossing the back surface of the elbow. Repetitive use or strain can injure the tendon. This injury is followed by degeneration and inflammation. The trauma can also be sudden during a large exertion.

Triceps tendonitis is the rarest injury in the elbow area, and is mainly due to overuse syndrome. Tendonitis can occur patients of all ages, mostly affects men,  and even more so in weight lifters, throwing athletes and soccer players. It is also seen in sports such as off-road mountain biking, motorcycle riding and jumping (that require quick triceps contraction).



There are several approaches to treating this tendonitis, including: 

  • Medications (pain relief) 

  • Splints (restrict movement) 

  • Shockwave therapy or lithotripsy (reduce pain, increase circulation, reduce inflammation and non-invasive) 


Sources and Related Links


In-depth Information

The triceps brachii muscle derives its name from a tripartite origin consisting of medial, lateral, and long heads. The origin of the medial head is at the dorsal humerus, inferior to the radial groove, and connecting to the intermuscular septum. The lateral head originated at the dorsal humerus, superior to the radial groove. The origin of the long head is the infra-glenoid tubercle of the scapula. The three heads combine to form a single tendon which is inserted on the olecranon of the ulna. The function of the triceps brachii is extension of the forearm at the elbow joint. Additionally, its long head contributes to the extension and adduction of the arm at the shoulder joint. Triceps also plays a role in creating anatomical spaces which are traversed by neurovascular structures. The innervation of the triceps is provided by the radial nerve. The muscle is supplied by the deep brachial artery.

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