Snapping elbow syndrome

Snapping elbow syndrome (SES), also is called triceps snapping syndrome.

SES , is a rare cause of elbow pain. 

The triceps muscles are composed of the long head, lateral head, and medial head. 

The three muscles form one large tendon that attaches to the tip of the elbow. 

In  some people, there is an extra tendon from the inside or medial part of the muscle.

Snapping of the triceps occurs when one bends the elbow. 

The inside part of the triceps snaps against the inside of the elbow during elbow flexion. 

Snapping is more likely to occur if there is an extra tendon from the medial triceps. 

Snapping that occurs repeatedly, leads to inflammation on the inside of the elbow causing elbow pain. 

The ulnar nerve that is close to the snapping muscle causes pins and needles and numbness paresthesias on the outer hand.

Diagnosis: patients report snapping or clicking of the elbow, especially when bending the elbow. 

Dynamic ultrasound confirms the diagnosis of snapping triceps syndrome, and can show ulnar nerve damage, thickening, or dislocation.

Conservative treatment is considered before considering surgery.

Avoiding exercises that cause snapping of the tendon. 

Stretching directed to the triceps muscle may help reduce snapping.

In patients who fail conservative treatment may benefit from surgical releasing the irritated ulnar nerve and moving it to the front of the inside of the elbow.

Cutting the tenon and reattaching it to the main tendon in cases with an extra inside tendon. 

Most patients make a complete recovery.

Risks of surgery include: infection, nerve damage, and continued snapping.

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