Tricep Injury Treatment Claymont DE
First State Orthopaedics PA
3 B Orthopaedics
Adult Reconstructive Orthopaedic Surgery
Medical School: Emory Univ Sch Of Med
Year of Graduation: 1977
Accepting New Patients: Yes
4.2, out of 5 based on 4, reviews.
A Rare But Important Tendon Injury
When Popeye, the cartoon sailor man wanted to show off his muscles, he lifted his arm and flexed his biceps muscle. Every child who ever wanted to show off his or her strength has imitated this posture ever since. But when Arnold Schwarzenegger, a well-known actor in Terminator movies posed, it was always with the hands pressed together in front of his body. This body builder pose shows off the chest and triceps muscles. The triceps is located along the back of the upper arm. It's the triceps muscle that catches our attention in this article.
The triceps muscle doesn't tear or rupture very often. In fact, of all the tendons in the body that do get injured, injuries affecting this one are reported the least often. When it does happen, it's usually in a professional-level football player or weight lifter. Of course, the nature of these sports with potentially violent contact or powerful lifts increases the risk of this type of injury. But the illegal use of steroids to build up the muscles can lead to rupture of the triceps tendon, too. Anyone who falls on an outstretched hand is at risk for a triceps injury. Getting cut with a knife or other sharp object such as a piece of glass can also disrupt the muscle and/or its tendon at its attachment.
The triceps tendon is a broad three-sectioned muscle that comes down along the back of the upper arm from the shoulder and inserts into the back of the elbow. The place where these three sections meet into one tendon and attaches to the bone is called the triceps footprint. When the muscle is completely torn, the tendon usually pulls away from its footprint. Sometimes the traumatic event is so powerful that the tendon pulls away still attached to the footprint, taking a piece of the underlying bone with it. Because the muscle functions to straighten the elbow, when it is ruptured, arm extension is compromised.
What does a torn triceps look and feel like? First, there's pain reported along the back of the elbow and visible swelling there. It is very tender to touch in this same area. Often, there's a large indentation in the skin called a defect just above the olecranon (point of the elbow). The defect can be seen and felt.
There may be weakness with elbow extension against resistance. The patient may not be able to extend (straighten) the elbow at all or only through part of the normal range-of-motion. But surprisingly, a completely ruptured triceps doesn't mean the patient won't always be unable to extend the elbow against resistance. There is another muscle that helps the triceps (the anconeus) and it may compensate for the loss of the main muscle.
The examining physician can do a clinical test to look for a triceps rupture. It's modified from a test for ruptures of the Achilles tendon at the back of the foot/heel. A squeezing pressure is applied by the examiner to the triceps muscle. The test is done with the patient lying face down on an examining table. The elbow is bent ...