Triceps Repair Surgery

A torn triceps muscle is painful and can potentially threaten your arm strength and function. A 2019 study revealed most injury mechanisms were falls (21.6%) and a sporting activity (24%).

 If you need help, Dr. Christopher Sforzo offers reliable triceps repair surgery to help patients recover. Read today’s detailed guide to learn more.

What is Triceps Repair Surgery?

This surgery repairs a torn triceps tendon. While a partial tear may heal following conservative treatment, a patient with full tendon rupture requires triceps tendon repair surgery for successful recovery.

Dr. Christopher Sforzo performs the procedure under anesthesia to minimize pain. Our surgeon makes an incision on your elbow’s backside and stitches to repair it. We use anchors and tunnels to attach the patient’s tendon securely.

Once our surgeon completes the surgery, they place your elbow in a splint or cast to improve healing. Dr. Christopher Sforzo specializes in sports medicine and elbow surgery and will evaluate your arm to identify the best treatment for your needs.

What are the Causes of Triceps Tendon Rupture?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NIH), triceps injury occurs due to sudden muscle eccentric contraction. Studies show that American football players experience triceps tendon rupture more than other sports players.

Bodybuilding and weightlifters are also at an increased risk of tricep sling injuries, especially if they use anabolic steroids. Individuals with diseases that affect tendon quality and collagen structures are more likely to suffer triceps tendon rupture than the general population.

Here are common tricep injury causes and risk factors:

Repetitive Strain Injuries

These injuries occur due to repetitive motions such as those you experience in weightlifting, throwing, and other activities involving triceps muscle use. Continued exposure to these movements can lead to small tears in the tendon, which eventually become a full tear or rupture.


Trauma is a physical injury caused by an external force, such as a fall or a direct blow to the elbow. These injury types occur due to high-energy trauma, including a fall from a height or a car accident.

Your tendon can stretch or tear when subjected to a sudden, forceful impact. The injury extent depends on the force applied, the direction of the force, and the injury’s specific location. Sometimes, the tendon may overstretch, leading to complete rupture.

Aging and Tendon Degeneration

Aging and tendon degeneration can cause your triceps muscle to rupture. As you age, your tendons and ligaments weaken and lose elasticity. This makes them more prone to injury. The triceps tendon, which connects the triceps muscle to the bone in the elbow, is susceptible to degeneration.

When the triceps tendon degenerates, its ability to withstand daily stress reduces, and it becomes more prone to tear or rupture. Degeneration can lead to small tears, which can become full-blown raptures if left unattended.

Chronic Diseases

Certain chronic diseases impacting the integrity and strength of the tendons and ligaments increase the chances of a triceps injury. These conditions lead to a systemic impact on the body and affect multiple joints and tendons.

For example, diabetes causes nerve damage, affecting the tendons and ligaments. This leads to weakness and stiffness in the tendons, increasing rapture risk. Rheumatoid arthritis impacts the joints and can cause inflammation and damage to the tendons and ligaments.

Excessive Training

As an athlete or fitness enthusiast, you must understand excessive training comes with increased risks, including triceps tendon rupture possibility. According to a 2018 study, bench press and weightlifting accounted for 19% of the cases.

You heavily use the triceps muscle during exercises such as push-ups, dips, and bench presses. Overusing this muscle and a sudden increase in your training intensity and volume puts excessive stress on the triceps tendon, leading to a rupture.


Osteoporosis condition leads to reduced bone density. This makes your bones more fragile and susceptible to fractures. Individuals with this condition are at a higher risk of suffering avulsion fractures, similar to tendon tears, including the triceps tendon.

When bones lose density, they become weaker and more prone to injury, meaning the  tendons attached to these bones are under intense stress to offer support. Osteoporosis is more common in older individuals.  

How is Triceps Tendon Rupture Diagnosed?

If you suspect you have a triceps tendon rupture, visit our experts at Sforzo, Dillingham, Stewart Orthopedic + Sports Medicine. Our board-certified surgeon, Dr. Christopher Sforzo, will perform a physical exam on your lower legs.

During the evaluation, the surgeon may require you to kneel on a chair for the initial inspection. The doctor checks for automatic foot flexing by squeezing your calf muscles. If the foot fails to flex automatically, your triceps tendon might be ruptured.

Our specialized surgeon checks for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness or weakness in the injured site
  • Tenderness or pain in the ruptured area
  • Popping or tearing sound during the injury

Our qualified surgeon uses an MRI or ultrasound scan to confirm if your triceps injury rupture is partial or complete. These procedures are non-invasive and create your body’s tissue images to guide the doctor during the examination.

Our orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Sforzo, is well-versed with the latest technologies to diagnose triceps muscle injury and understands different types of tricep surgery. The doctor follows standard guidelines during your examination for appropriate diagnosis.

What are the Risks and Side Effects of Tricep Repair Surgery?

Like most surgical procedures, muscle repair surgery has potential risks and complications. In a 2022 study, 15% of cases had complications, with re-tears accounting for 5 %. Expected risks and complications after anterior reinforcement surgery include the following:

  • Infection and bleeding in the surgical area
  • Challenges in resuming your daily activities
  • Restricted motion of the arm
  • Damage to some arm’s parts, such as blood vessels, nerves, bones, and muscles

Besides tricep repair surgery, our surgeon may recommend non-surgical treatment options depending on your injury severity. These include

  • Medications
  • Splinting/bracing
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection
  • Physical therapy

While we strive to help patients to recover using non-invasive treatment techniques, sometimes the injury requires a surgical procedure. Our specialized surgeon reviews your situation to determine a treatment method that can work for you.

After triceps tear rehabilitation surgery, Dr. Christopher Sforzo recommends the best exercises for torn triceps muscle to ensure a successful recovery, including practices such as:

Towel Resistance

While standing, hold a towel’s end over your head with one arm. Hold the other side of the towel while putting the other arm behind the back. Pull the towel on both ends with your arms to stretch it.

Maintain your elbow in your arm’s top and close to the ear. Stay in the resistance position for at least 10 seconds and repeat it several times.

French Stretch

Stand with your hands over your head and clasp your fingers together. When clasping your hands, stretch to reach behind your head and touch your upper back. Maintain your elbows close to the ear and hold the position for about 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise three times for better results.

Triceps Kickback

Using a chair or table for support, put your head on the uninjured arm and lean forward. Hold a lightweight on the affected hand and place your elbow on your body’s parallel side.

Maintain your arm at 90 degrees and let your forearm face the floor. Move the forearm backwards for your elbow to straighten. Repeat this exercise about 20 times.

Modified Push-Up

Go to a push-up position with your knees on the ground and hands parallel to the shoulders. With your back straight, lean towards the floor slowly. If you perform 15 reps twice without experiencing pain, put your feet in the air when doing the exercise. Over time, you can stretch out your legs in a full push-up position.

French Press

Sit and grab a dumbbell or small weight with your hands as if holding a baseball bat and push your arms above the head. Bend your elbows and gradually lower the dumbbell behind the head until it reaches the upper back. Repeat the exercise several times.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Tricep Repair Surgery?

The recovery time of tricep repair surgery depends on the patient’s personalized needs. Following an appropriate treatment by our board-certified surgeon, most patients recover well. Here’s what you can expect:

Mild Cases

You may recover from a mild triceps injury after several days of taking pain relief medication, icing, and resting. A moderate case may require weeks or months for a full recovery.

If your injury needs muscle repair surgery, the recovery involves an immobilization period and occupational or physical therapy. This aims to enhance the affected aim’s motion range and strength slowly.

Moderate-to-Severe Cases

According to a study, triceps surgery patients recovered completely six months after the procedure. However, individuals may experience some side effects of the surgery, such as mild range of motion and strength loss.

When seeking triceps tendon repair, remember everyone is different, and recovery may vary depending on your situation. For best results, follow our surgeon’s post-operative instructions and recommended practices.

How Can Dr. Christopher Sforzo Help You?

If you have signs and symptoms of triceps muscle rupture, it’s best to consult a medical professional immediately. Let our experienced and board-certified orthopedic surgeon provide customized treatment for a successful recovery.

Dr. Christopher Sforzo will perform a full examination to determine the extent of your injury and recommend a personalized treatment plan. Are you ready to get started? Contact us today for evaluation and recommendations.