Elbow extension is very critical for the throwing athlete. The extensor mechanism of the elbow is a relatively uncommon source of clinical dysfunction. However, two primary processes may affect the triceps tendon, triceps tendonitis, and triceps avulsion injuries. Triceps tendonitis, the more common of the two, is manifested by chronic posterior elbow pain with extension activities. It occurs almost exclusively in males, usually in the fourth decade of life, and especially in individuals who perform forceful repetitive extension activities, eg, throwing athletes. Two distinct subsets of patients exist: those with and those without an olecranon traction spur. Conservative management involves avoidance of repetitive forceful elbow extension, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, and time. Splinting in 45° of elbow flexion may be useful if tolerated. Counterforce bracing is typically unsuccessful because the cross-section of the arm changes with biceps contraction. Corticosteroid injection is contraindicated. Although conservative management is limited in scope, it is usually successful in triceps tendonitis in the absence of an olecranon traction spur. The presence of an olecranon traction spur is associated with a higher failure rate of conservative treatment necessitating surgical intervention. Surgical management, when required, involves subperiosteal exposure and excision of the spur and the olecranon tip and formal repair of the triceps tendon.
- Olecranon spur
- Triceps tendinitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine