The triceps brachii are the muscles of the upper arm that connect to the bones of the arm. Working opposite to the biceps, the triceps are responsible for extending the arm, which it does by pulling on the ulna at the elbow. Injuries often result from lifting too much weight or performing repetitive movement. Failure to properly warm up before exercise increases the risk of injury, as does obesity, poor diet and overdevelopment of the biceps.
The primary symptom of muscle injury is pain or tenderness. In the case of a triceps injury, pain would occur on extension of the forearm and be focused at the upper part of the back of the arm. Muscle pain can result from a variety of causes but should be differentiated from mere soreness that results from exertion without injury.
Muscle swelling can also occur for a variety of reasons, usually the build-up of fluid in the muscle. Swelling will be localised at the site of the strain, which would be anywhere from the elbow up to near the shoulder on the backside of the arm in the case of a triceps injury. Swelling at the elbow can indicate damage to the tendons connecting the triceps to the bones of the arm.
Less severe injury, such as overuse, repetitive movement or dehydration can result in muscle spasms. These are uncontrolled, and often painful, contractions of the muscle. The triceps makes up approximately 60 per cent of the arm's muscle mass. A spasm of the triceps can result in unintentional movement of the arm.
Reduced strength is a common symptom of muscle injury. An acute muscle injury or strain usually results in immediate weakness. Other injuries can produce reduced strength over time. Triceps injuries would limit the force with which the forearms can be extended.
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