Triceps tendinopathy refers to chronic tendon disorganization and dysfunction of the triceps tendon, a tendon which inserts on the posterior aspect of the elbow.
Triceps tendonitis is commonly seen in athletes and people who repetitively overuse and strain the triceps muscle. Regular use of the triceps muscle for vigorous activities such as throwing, using a hammer or lifting heavy weights can also cause this condition. The root cause of triceps tendonitis is recurrent trauma to the tendon that occurs during certain movements of the elbow under stress. This stress can cause inflammation in the tendon which results in pain.
The most common symptom of triceps tendonitis is pain in the elbow. This pain may not be present at rest but can be worse upon movement of the arm. On examination of the arm, there is usually tenderness at the tip of the elbow and just above it which coincides with the location of the triceps tendon. In severe cases, pain can occur at rest, which can limit the mobility of the elbow and affect activities of daily living. In some cases of triceps tendonitis, there may be mild swelling around the elbow joint. Weakness of the muscle may also be a symptom and patients may have difficulty straightening out the elbow from a flexed position.
Procedural options include needling the tendon under ultrasound to improve blood flow by creating acute inflammation and regenerative-type injections (such as platelet-rich plasma [PRP]) that can stimulate the body’s own natural healing response when conventional treatments have failed.