Brief Outline of Triceps Brachii Tendon Rupture
The triceps brachii tendon is located at the back of the upper arm, inserting into the back of the elbow. A direct fall onto an outstretched hand can rupture this tendon (also known as tendon avulsion), through the injury is a fairly uncommon. Weightlifters and football linemen are among the athletes who run a risk of triceps brachii tendon rupture, due to excessive weight on the tendon.
Anatomy and physiology
The triceps brachii tendon connects the ulna with the large triceps brachii muscle at the back of the arm. The tendon permits the elbow to straighten with force, during certain activities, e.g. push-ups. The tendon begins around the middle of the triceps brachii muscle and consists of two segments, one covering the back of the lower half of the muscle, the other, more deeply situated within the muscle. The two segments or lamelle join each other above the elbow and insert into the olecranon.
Cause of Tricep Brachii Tendon Injury
Fall on an outstretched hand, with the elbow in mid-flexion. Excessive weight lifting. Underlying health issues, such as hyperparathyroidism or diabetes mellitus.
Signs and symptoms
Pain and swelling in the elbow region. Limited mobility of the elbow. Muscle spasms.
Complications if left unattended
The injury generally requires surgery to repair. Failure to repair a ruptured triceps brachii tendon can cause e permanent tendon deficiency, leading to muscle weakness, continued pain, and loss of arm mobility and weight bearing capacity.
- R.I.C.E regimen to reduce inflammation and treat pain.
- Prevent movement by immobilising the arm
Rehabilitation and prevention
Following surgery to repair a ruptured triceps brachii tendon, exercises may be used to gradually increase the range of motion, flexibility, and strength of the injured arm. Proper technique, particularly if weightlifting or bodybuilding is critical to prevent such injuries. It is believed the use of anabolic steroids increases the risk of such tendon ruptures.
With surgery soon after the time of injury and proper rehabilitation, ruptures of the triceps brachiii tendon generally heal completely, though complications including accompanying fractures, etc. must be weighted up in assessing long-term outlook.