Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ


I've been told I have an unusual problem with my elbow. It's called the snapping triceps syndrome. It's probably caused by my weight lifting program. What can I do in my training to get rid of this problem?


Snapping triceps syndrome (STS) occurs when the triceps muscle of the upper arm dislocates and snaps over the ulnar nerve and bone along the inside of the elbow.

Scientists studying this problem don't have the complete answer yet. There was some thought that retraining the muscle to fire properly would help. But a recent study from the Mayo Clinic disproved this idea.

They used electromyographic (EMG) studies of the muscle's three sections in patients with STS and compared them to patterns among normal, healthy adults. EMG was used to measure the electrical activity of contracting muscle. They showed that the muscle activation pattern in patients with STS wasn't any different than the pattern in normal, healthy adults.

Since the condition affects weight lifters, overtraining causing a bulky muscle may be part of the problem. Size and position of the muscle with its three tendons may be the real cause of STS. Specific recommendations for training may be available after the exact cause of the problem is discovered. Andrea J. Boon, MD, et al. Muscle Activation Patterns in Snapping Triceps Syndrome. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. February 2007. Vol. 88. No. 2. Pp. 239-242.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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