A traumatic event involving your triceps -- such as excessive weight lifting or catching yourself as you fall -- can cause a tear in your triceps tendon. A tendon connects muscle to bone. This injury requires surgery to repair the torn tendon. Post-surgery rehabilitation includes exercises to improve range of motion, flexibility and strength. A physical therapist recommends specific exercises for you; do not do any additional exercises.
After surgery to repair a ruptured tendon, it is important to engage in range of motion, or ROM, exercises. ROM exercises include passive and active exercises. A caregiver or therapist moves your joints for you during passive ROM exercises. Elbow ROM exercises target the triceps because the triceps work to extend the elbow. An example of a passive ROM exercise is the elbow bend up and down. Relax your arm at your side as a caregiver turns your palm to face forward and then bends your elbow, causing your palm to move toward your shoulder; he then reverses the motion.
Active ROM exercises are similar to passive ROM exercises, except that you move your joint without assistance. Active ROM exercises may be allowed the day after your triceps repair surgery. An example of an active ROM exercise that involves the triceps is elbow bends. Hold your arm to your side with your palm facing forward and then flex your elbow to touch your shoulder. Straighten your elbow back to the starting position. Do active ROM exercises several times per day if there is no pain. Ask your therapist how many repetitions are safe for you to do.
Stretching exercises are beneficial to gradually improve flexibility in your injured arm after triceps repair surgery. Stretching exercises may be started as soon as pain allows, unless your physical therapist suggests otherwise. Stretch your triceps several times a day; perform five repetitions and hold stretches for 20 to 30 seconds unless the exercises hurt, according to the Sports Injury Clinic website, managed by Mike Walden. An example exercise is the overhead triceps stretch. Raise your injured arm above your head and bend your elbow to touch the center of your upper back. Gently press down on your elbow with your opposite hand.
After a triceps tendon rupture, strength training exercises help you regain strength in your injured arm. Wait until these exercises do not cause pain. Perform triceps strengthening exercises three to four times per week, recommends the Sports Injury Clinic website. Icing your arm after workouts helps reduce inflammation. The dumbbell triceps kickback is an example of a strengthening exercise. To perform this exercise, grip a dumbbell and place your injured arm against your side with your arm bent at a 90-degree angle. Turn your palm inward and bend forward slightly. Extend your arm straight behind you and then reverse the motion.
- The Anatomy of Sports Injuries: Brad Walker
- Drugs.com: Repairs of the Biceps and Triceps Tendons
- British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery: Repair of Triceps Tendon Avulsions or Ruptures (pdf)
- SportsInjuryClinic.net: Rehabilitation -- Triceps Tendon Inflammation
- Drugs.com: Passive Range of Motion Exercises
- Drugs.com: Active Range of Motion Exercises