Our body contains several vital parts to maintain its shape and functionality; one of them is tendons. These are moveable tissues that connect our muscles to the bones. Our tendons play a significant role in our ability to move or perform any activity or exercise. In this article, we will be particularly focusing on tricep tendons.
Basically, the tricep tendons join the back of the arm to the elbow joint and help in straightening the arm. Repetitive strain on our tricep tendons causes micro-tearing of the tissues. Our body tries to heal the tears naturally. However, sometimes, the tears happen faster than the healing. The increased tears cause pain and inflammation, which result in even larger tears. This condition is tricep tendonitis. Now that you have a basic idea of what tricep tendonitis is, let’s talk about its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!
Symptoms: What Does Tricep Tendonitis Feel Like?
The symptoms of tricep tendonitis can vary from person to person and depending on the severity of the condition. Following are some of the common symptoms of tricep tendonitis:
- Pain in the elbows, shoulders, or anywhere in the tricep muscles.
- Swelling and redness around the elbow area.
- Weakening of the elbow and shoulder area.
- Discomfort in the elbow and shoulder area. It may worsen with time.
- Snapping sound when moving the elbow or shoulder.
In severe cases of tricep tendonitis, the functionality of the arm can become limited.
What Causes Tricep Tendonitis To Flare Up?
We use our arms without any thought to what we are doing to them. Sometimes, the muscles in our arms cannot bear the pressure we put them through.
One of the most common causes of tricep tendonitis flaring up is performing activities that require forceful use of the elbows. Examples of such activities are hammering, gymnastics, bench presses, and throwing a ball. The damage increases with the frequency and intensity of the activities.
If you have a job where the consistent movement of the elbow is required, your chances of developing this condition increase significantly. Some other less common causes may be one-time severe events, like an accident or a bad fall. Tricep tendonitis can also occur because of medical problems and heavy usage of steroids.
Diagnosis of Tricep Tendonitis
If you think you have tricep tendonitis, it’s good to get a timely diagnosis. To diagnose tricep tendonitis, the doctors will first ask a few questions about your symptoms and medical history. The questions are followed by a physical exam, which is usually enough to give a diagnosis. If the condition is still not confirmed, the doctors will perform some image tests.
During the physical exam, the doctors will apply pressure to the area where the tendons connect to the elbow to see if there is any form of inflammation or hardness. You will also be asked to move your arm to check the range of mobility. The doctor may also have you perform a few exercises that will help him understand the strength of your shoulders, triceps, and elbows.
If the physical exam does not provide enough information, the doctor may order imaging exams. These exams can be an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), Ultrasound, or X-ray. Any of these tests can confirm the diagnosis of tricep tendonitis.
Treatment: How do you heal a tricep tendon?
If you have been diagnosed with tricep tendonitis, there are a number of treatment options you can choose from. Some of the most prominent treatment options for tricep tendonitis include:
The first line of treatment is over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and RICE. The RICE acronym stands for:
- Rest: Simply rest and avoid movement, especially your arm.
- Ice: Apply ice to the inflamed area. The ice can reduce inflammation and tenderness.
- Compression: Use bandages or elbow support to compress and provide support to the affected area.
- Elevate: Keep your arm above the heart level to help with the inflammation.
Physical therapy can be used for the treatment of tricep tendonitis. There are a number of carefully selected exercises that can strengthen the tricep muscles. Examples of these exercises are towel resistance, elbow bend and stretch, static tricep stretch, and french stretch. It is important that you never do any of the exercises on your own. A physiotherapist must monitor them to avoid any further damage.
It is usually preferred that a patient tries to manage tricep tendonitis using the conservative methods of treatment. However, if the damage to the tricep muscles is so severe that no method works, then surgery may be needed. For instance, you may have to rely on tendon repair or grafting in case the tendon is partially or fully torn.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) Therapy:
Platelet-rich plasma therapy injections are recommended for tendonitis. In this therapy, a concentrate of your platelets is taken from the blood and injected into the affected area. It sets into motion a self-healing where the tissues start healing themselves by replacing the damaged cells. We have covered a detailed article on “What is Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) Therapy?”, you can check it out to learn more about this treatment method.
When to see a doctor?
As we know, even the slightest conditions can become severe if not treated at the right time. The same goes for tricep tendonitis. So, it is essential to know when to see a doctor. You should get an appointment if:
- You have pain or swelling around your elbow or shoulder.
- The swelling doesn’t go down after a few days, even after applying an ice pack.
- The pain is worsening and has started interfering with your daily life.
It is important that you do not ignore the minor symptoms, as the damage to the tendons can increase severely in the span of a few days.
The Best Doctor Near Me In Indianapolis To Treat Tricep Tendonitis
“Is there a doctor near me in Indianapolis that can help me with the treatment of tricep tendonitis?”
Several people have been asking this question. You may have this very same question in your mind. Well, the answer is, yes, we are near you. Our in-house specialist Dr. Dan Williams is one of the best experts in Indianapolis. He can help you with the diagnosis and in understanding the severity of the condition. Furthermore, he can help suggest the best treatment method for you according to your condition. Calling us today to book an appointment if you see any symptoms of tricep tendonitis.
All in all, tricep tendonitis is nothing to be afraid of. In most cases, tricep tendonitis is manageable easily at home with simple rest and first-line treatment. However, if your symptoms don’t go away in a couple of days or get worse, you should immediately consult a doctor for the diagnosis of tricep tendonitis. You should note that prevention is always better than cure. So, now that you know what causes tricep tendonitis, you should take protective measures to prevent it.
If you are living in Indianapolis and wondering, “who is the best doctor for tricep tendonitis near me?” the answer is Dr. Dan Williams. You can call our clinic, and we will help you answer any questions you might have and set up an appointment for you.