Tricep Tears

Tricep Tear Causes and Treatment

A tricep tear is a common injury that can hinder arm function. While tricep tears often occur in athletes and fitness enthusiasts, anyone can be at risk of experiencing this condition.

Understanding the causes and symptoms of a tricep tear is crucial. It helps in seeking timely treatment and preventing further damage.

Understanding Tricep Tears

A tricep tear is an injury to the tricep muscle or its tendon. This muscle, located at the back of the upper arm, is necessary for arm extension and elbow stability. The degrees of this condition can range from minor strains to complete tears. The severity of the tear determines the treatment approach and recovery time.

It is important to note that tricep tears are different from other arm injuries. They require specific care and attention to ensure proper healing and the prevention of future injuries.

Tricep muscle anatomy

Common Causes of Tricep Tears

Tricep tears often result from excessive strain or sudden impact. Weightlifting and contact sports are two examples of common causes.

Overuse and improper technique can also lead to tricep injuries. This is especially true in activities that involve repetitive arm movements.

Age and fitness level can also influence the risk of tricep tears. Understanding these risks can help in prevention and early detection.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

If you’ve torn your tricep, you’ll likely experience pain and swelling in the upper arm. You may also notice a reduction in arm strength.

These symptoms are similar to other arm injuries. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis.

Doctors typically diagnose tricep tears through a physical examination. They may also use imaging tests for a more accurate assessment.

Early diagnosis is key to effective treatment as this can prevent complications and shorten the recovery process.

Treating a Tricep Tear

The treatment for a tricep tear depends on the severity of the injury. Minor tears often heal with rest and conservative treatment.

Severe or complete tears, however, may require more intensive care, which can include physical therapy or even surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatment options are typically recommended for minor-to-moderate tricep tears. These options include:

  • Rest and ice application to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy to restore strength and flexibility.
  • Bracing to support the injured arm and promote healing.

If your tricep has been torn, it is important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice during the recuperation period. Proper adherence to the treatment plan significantly improves recovery outcomes.

When Surgery Is Necessary

Surgery is usually reserved for complete tricep tears or when non-surgical treatments fail. The goal is to reattach the torn tendon to the bone.

Post-surgery, patients typically undergo a rehabilitation program, which helps in the restoration of arm function and prevention of future injuries.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Based on the severity of the injury and the treatment method, recovery time from a tricep tear will vary. Non-surgical recovery can take anywhere from a period of a few weeks to one or two months.

On the other hand, recovery from tricep tear surgery will likely take several months. During this time, it’s crucial to avoid strenuous activities that could re-injure the tricep.

Key steps of the recovery process include:

  • Adherence to the prescribed treatment plan.
  • Regular physical therapy sessions.
  • Gradual return to normal activities.

Physical Therapy and Exercises

Physical therapy plays a vital role in the recovery from a tricep tear as this helps restore strength and flexibility to the injured arm.

Therapists may recommend practices such as:

  • Gentle stretching to improve flexibility.
  • Strength-building exercises to regain muscle function.
  • Functional exercises to restore normal arm movements.

Remember, it’s important to perform these exercises under the guidance of a trained professional. This ensures safety and effectiveness.

Preventing Future Tricep Tears

Preventing tricep tears involves adopting safe workout practices. This includes proper warm-up routines and using correct lifting techniques.

Here are some tips to prevent tricep injuries:

  • Warm up properly before any strenuous activity.
  • Use correct form and technique when lifting weights.
  • Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts.
  • Include strength and flexibility exercises in your routine.
  • Take adequate rest between workouts to allow tricep muscles to recover.


Understanding the causes and treatments of a tricep tear can help prevent this common injury. Always remember to exercise safely. If you suspect a tricep injury, contact Monterey Spine & Joint to get a complete diagnosis and preemptive treatment.