As a CEO of a health insurance company, I often saw an injury that was less frequent than a biceps muscle strain but could be just as much of a problem. It was a triceps muscle strain. In fact because of the “popularity” of the biceps muscle the triceps is often overlooked in discussions about the health of the human body’s musculature.
While a triceps muscle strain is often connected to sports, it plays a major role in our everyday life. Anytime we receive a blunt hit to the back of our arm or twist the triceps muscle while reaching back we may incur a strain.
The triceps muscle is that big muscle at the back of your upper arm. I have located an excellent illustration of a triceps muscle that you may view here. Before discussing any type of muscle injury it is important to understand what we are talking about.
The role of the triceps muscle is to “stabilize the shoulder and elbow.” What this means is that it allows the throwing motion.
What are the causes of triceps muscle strain?
There are the sports-related causes of triceps muscle strain and they are overuse, failure to properly warm-up and a violent hit to the upper arm. You would find that occurring in any throwing sport such as baseball and football.
Non sports-related causes of triceps muscle strain include aging, sedentary lifestyle followed by heavy use and medication as well as the same in sports and that is a violent hit to the upper arm.
Are there “Grades” of injury?
Grade 1 triceps muscle strain is essentially simply a “muscle pull.” It is mild and there is little or no loss of strength.
A Grade 2 triceps muscle strain involves some tearing of muscle fiber. The rule of thumb is about 10 percent of muscle fiber damage.
A Grade 3 triceps muscle strain involves a rupture of the muscle and various amounts of damage to fibers, tendons and possibly bone.
There is nefarious ground between a Grade3 triceps strain and sprain, the sprain involving ligaments and typically the more severe injury. Grade 2 strains will hamper motion some but a Grade 3 can incapacitate a person.
What are the symptoms of a triceps muscle strain?
The person will feel pain mild to moderate to severe depending on injury Grade. There may be swelling and/or bruising. Also based on Grade will be loss of strength. Additionally the person with a triceps muscle strain may be aware of muscle spasms.
How is a triceps muscle strain treated? What are the expected recovery times?
A mild strain will be treated with rest, ice and possible taping. The anticipated recovery time is anywhere from, as our reference material tells us, 2-10 days.
A moderate strain will also be treated with ice, rest and taping but in addition will sometimes require an immobilization splint and even cast. Further strengthening therapy will have to take place. Anticipated recovery time is “10 days to six weeks.”
Severe strains will often times require surgery and take anywhere from six to 10 weeks to heal properly.
The most common residual problems for a triceps muscle strain are re-occurrence and trying to use the muscle too quickly.
As with almost every muscle strain, the triceps muscle strain can best be avoided with strengthening programs and with proper warm-up.
MDAdvice.com Website, “Arm Strain, Triceps”
You Tube Website, “Triceps kickbacks”