Inflammation or Rupture of the Triceps Tendon

The triceps tendon sits on the back of your upper arm, connecting your triceps muscle to your elbow. Lifting weights that are too heavy means the connective tissue in your arm has to try to make up for this extra weight, putting excess strain on these tendons. This can rupture the triceps tendon or cause inflammation due to overuse, and is an injury most often found in weight lifters and football players.

Key signs of a triceps tendon rupture include pain and swelling at the back of and around the elbow. It may also be difficult to move your arm or flex or extend your elbow.

If you think that you have an inflamed or ruptured triceps tendon, consult a sports medicine specialist. He or she may take X-rays to rule out other causes of your pain, and likely will prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medication, such as ibuprofen, to decrease pain and swelling. You also should rest the affected arm.

The specialist might also prescribe rehabilitation exercises to boost strength, range of motion and mobility in the affected arm. If the rupture or tear is severe enough, surgery may be necessary to repair it. Remember to increase training slowly so as not to tax tendons and muscles that likely will have atrophied during the time you were resting the arm. To prevent this injury in the future, don’t increase the amount of weight you lift too quickly.