Triceps Tendonitis

Triceps tendonitis (tendinopathy) is an overuse injury, resulting in inflammation or degeneration of the triceps tendon where it inserts into the back of the elbow.


  • Pain which develops gradually over time.
  • Symptoms are is felt both at rest and during exercise.
  • Back of elbow will be tender to touch.
  • Limited mobility and reduced strength.
  • Stretching the triceps may also cause pain or discomfort


Injury to the triceps tendon can occur from a sudden impact or fall causing a strain of the tendon. Or pain can develop gradually over time through repetitive strain.

For example, when performing overhead triceps extension strengthening exercises in the gym with a weight that is too heavy. Or allowing your elbow to go past 90 degrees of bend. This increases the forces through the muscle.

Failure to treat a tendon strain properly could lead to a long term chronic injury which is more difficult to treat.

The condition is common among athletes who play sports like tennis and baseball, which involve repetitive arm movements like swinging or throwing forcefully, and sports that involve repetitive lifting, such as weightlifting.


The triceps muscle originates at the back of the shoulder and inserts into the back of the elbow, specifically at the Olecranon process.

The Olecranon process is the prominent bony protrusion on the Ulna bone.

The term tendonitis refers to acute inflammation of the tendon. This will occur in the first few days following injury. However, more long term injuries are more likely to have passed the ‘inflammation’ stage and the term tendinopathy is probably more accurate as this describes degeneration of the tendon.


Rest and apply ice or cold therapy to the injury in the first two days to reduce pain and inflammation.

Later in the healing process, after the acute stage has passed, applying heat and wearing a heat retainer is likely to be more beneficial.

Continue to rest until normal daily activities are pain-free.

They may X-ray the elbow to rule out an avulsion fracture which is a strain of the tendon where the tendon tears, pulling a small piece of bone away with it.

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