The triceps is the so-called triceps brachii muscle, a muscle on the back of the upper arm. Through this muscle, the forearm in the elbow joint can be stretched. Both overload and inactivity can lead to discomfort with the triceps.

What is the triceps?

The German translation of the triceps commonly called triceps brachii muscle is a three-headed arm muscle. He belongs to the skeletal muscles and here to the group of the upper arm muscles. The triceps is located along the entire length of the back of the upper arm. Parts of the triceps run over two joints, the shoulder and the elbow.

Because it is an arm extensor muscle, it is also called a three-headed arm stretcher. The antagonists or antagonists of the arm stretchers are the arm flexors. The term "three-headed" is based on the fact that the triceps consists of three muscle heads. Skeletal muscles are always attached to at least two sites, the origin and the appendage, via tendons on the skeleton or fascia.

In several origins, the muscle heads (Latin Caput ) are the different parts of the original muscle. The triceps has three original parts or three muscle heads, which have a common approach. The triceps is responsible for the extension and rotation of the forearm in the elbow joint.

Anatomy & Construction

The three muscle heads of the triceps are the long head ( Caput longum ), the inner head ( Caput mediale ) and the lateral head ( Caput lateral ). The Caput longum has its origin below the socket on the scapula. It forms the lateral and medial gaps. The axial gaps are vascular and nerve tracts in the shoulder area. The medial and lateral caput have their origin on the posterior aspect of the humerus. The three muscle heads converge into a common sinewy approach to the olecranon. The Olecranon is the bony end of the ulna, one of the forearm bones. From here fibers emanate to the joint capsule of the elbow and forearm fascia.

The tendon of the triceps, which forms the neck, begins in the middle of the muscle and consists of two aponeuroses. Aponeuroses are connective tissue structures that serve as a sinewy approach of muscles. Of the two aponeuroses of the triceps, one covers the lower part of the muscle, while the other pulls deep into the muscle. Beneath the triceps tendon is a bursa that provides protection against excessive friction between the muscle and the bony olecranon.

Function & Tasks

The triceps, together with the anconeus muscle, which is also referred to as the elbow or elbow bony muscle, allow extension of the forearm in the elbow joint. The triceps also allows the arm to be pulled (adducted) to the body via the shoulder joint and the arm to be guided backwards (retroversion). The Caput mediale and the Caput lateral are responsible for the extension.

Through the Caput longum adduction and retroversion can be done. Another feature of the triceps is the fixation of the elbow joint. As a result, buckling of the arms during support is prevented and fine movements of the hand, such as when writing, are possible. The triceps is the antagonist of the biceps, which in medical terminology is called the biceps brachii muscle and also belongs to the upper arm muscles, but is an arm flexor muscle.

In addition, the triceps is an antagonist of the brachialis muscle, the upper arm muscle, which lies behind the biceps on the outside of the upper arm. As the forearm flexes, the biceps contract and the triceps stretch. When stretching the forearm this runs in reverse: the triceps contract and the biceps relaxes.

In contrast to the heart musculature and the smooth muscles of the internal organs, the skeletal musculature, and thus also the triceps, can be moved deliberately and consciously. In addition to movement, skeletal muscles also stabilize joints like the shoulder. The muscles also create some of the body heat.

Diseases & complaints

Different complaints of different causes can occur in the area of ​​the triceps. Moving or burning pains along the entire back of the arm or piercing, punctate pains can occur as well as tensions or movement restrictions. Pain can radiate to the upper back and into the fingers. Slight swelling may also occur.

Causes can be external trauma such as an accident or tendinitis. Inflammation of the triceps tendon is caused by the fact that the tendon rubs against the bone in case of overloading (eg due to high weight during strength training). An untreated tendinitis can develop into a chronic inflammation. Inactivity underload, as well as severe congestion, can lead to discomfort.

Activities that keep the arms permanently in front of the body, such as when working at the desk or during long car rides, can lead to permanent stretching of the long head. Permanently this can lead to a passive overload of the triceps. In various sports, such as swimming, tennis or volleyball, there may be an active overload of the triceps.

The so-called epicondylitis is the colloquial tennis elbow. Epicondylitis is not restricted to tennis players, but the irritation of the tendons of the triceps is particularly common. In weight training or bodybuilding, various exercises such as bench press or pushups can put a heavy strain on the triceps. In rare cases, where the triceps are exposed to extreme stress, it can also lead to muscle fiber tears, in which the muscle tissue ruptures.

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