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Triceps Tendon Avulsion in a Soldier: A Case Report.

BACKGROUND: Clinical assessment of triceps brachii tendon tears is challenging, and conventional imaging methods have limitations. Timely surgical referral is important in high-grade tears to maximize patient outcomes, and musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSK US) can be used at the time of clinical examination to identify such injuries requiring advanced imaging and orthopedic referral.

HYPOTHESIS/PURPOSE: The purpose of this case report is to describe how MSK US was used to facilitate advanced imaging and timely orthopedic referral for a patient presenting to a physical therapist with a high-grade triceps tendon avulsion.

STUDY DESIGN: Case Report.

CASE DESCRIPTION: A 35-year-old male soldier presented to a direct access sports physical therapist with acute-on-chronic right elbow pain. Physical examination and MSK US were used to identify a high-grade partial triceps brachii tendon tear. The MSK US findings informed the physical therapist's decision-making process to refer the subject for timely advanced imaging studies as well as referral to an orthopedic physician.

OUTCOMES: A high-grade partial triceps tendon avulsion was confirmed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The subject was then seen by an orthopedic surgeon and underwent surgical repair of the tendon within the recommended three-week timeframe for optimal outcomes. The subject completed a post-operative rehabilitation program and returned to full physical and occupational activities.

CONCLUSION: MSK US can assist in the diagnosis of challenging triceps tendon injuries, facilitating timely advanced imaging and orthopedic referrals for high-grade injuries to optimize patient outcomes.


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