The Triceps Tendon extends the elbow. While Triceps Tendon Tears are less common than Biceps Tendon Tears, they do happen. They most commonly occur when the arm is extended against a resistance, such as when catching oneself during a fall.
If the Triceps Tendon is torn, it should be repaired in order to restore extension strength to the elbow. Otherwise, the loss of extension power will be permanent. This makes it difficult to push with the arm, to use crutches, or to catch oneself during a fall.
The diagnosis is usually straightforward. Following a trauma, pain and weakness with elbow extension are present, often with a palpable gap in the Triceps Tendon. In cases where the diagnosis is in question, an MRI can confirm the tear.
Surgical repair of a Triceps Tendon Tear is a highly effective, outpatient procedure. Following a Triceps Tendon Repair the arm is splinted in extension for 1-2 weeks, and then motion exercises are begun and the arm can get wet. Most elbow motion can usually be regained without formal therapy, although some therapy will usually be required to provide a home strengthening program after 6 weeks. No heavy use is allowed for 3-4 months following Triceps Tendon Repair. While this can be inconvenient, surgical repair of a Triceps Tendon Repair is a predictable, effective procedure with high patient satisfaction.