Tennis Elbow: A Persistent Problem?


Greetings, readers! Tennis elbow is a common condition that can cause pain and discomfort in the elbow and forearm. But just how persistent is it? Can it ever truly go away? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the causes, symptoms, and various treatment options for tennis elbow. We’ll also explore the likelihood of complete recovery and provide practical advice on managing this condition.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Overuse Injury

Tennis elbow is typically caused by overuse, particularly from activities that involve repetitive twisting or gripping motions. This strain on the tendons that attach to the outside of the elbow can lead to inflammation and pain.

Other Contributing Factors

While overuse is the primary cause, other factors can increase the risk of developing tennis elbow, including:

  • Poor form during athletic activities
  • Age-related degeneration
  • Certain occupations or hobbies that involve repetitive motions
  • Wrist weakness or instability

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Pain and Tenderness

The most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. The pain may worsen with activities that involve gripping or twisting motions.

Stiffness and Limited Motion

Inflammation around the tendons can cause stiffness in the elbow joint, limiting the range of motion.

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Grip Weakness

Tennis elbow can weaken the muscles that control the grip, making it difficult to perform tasks that require holding objects.

Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow

Conservative Treatment

Most cases of tennis elbow can be managed with conservative treatment measures:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate the condition allows the tendons to heal.
  • Ice: Applying ice packs to the affected area can reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can improve flexibility, strengthen the muscles around the elbow, and reduce pain.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help alleviate discomfort.


In some cases, injections of corticosteroids may be used to reduce inflammation and pain. However, repeated injections may weaken the tendons.


Surgery is rarely necessary for tennis elbow but may be considered if conservative treatment options fail to provide relief.

Will Tennis Elbow Ever Go Away?

The likelihood of complete recovery from tennis elbow depends on several factors, including the severity of the condition, the underlying cause, and the effectiveness of treatment.

Mild Cases

Mild cases of tennis elbow typically resolve with conservative treatment within a few weeks or months.

Severe Cases

More severe cases may take longer to heal or may not go away entirely. However, proper management and lifestyle modifications can minimize pain and discomfort.


Tennis elbow can sometimes recur, especially if the underlying cause is not addressed. Maintaining a healthy elbow, avoiding overuse, and using proper form during activities can reduce the risk of recurrence.

Table: Treatment Options and Outcomes

Treatment Option Estimated Recovery Time Success Rate
Rest and Ice 6-8 weeks 70-80%
Physical Therapy 8-12 weeks 85-90%
Cortisone Injections 2-4 weeks 60-70%
Surgery 4-6 months 90-95%


Tennis elbow can be a persistent condition, but with proper care and management, most cases can be resolved or effectively managed. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options, you can take steps to reduce pain and discomfort and improve your overall elbow health. If you’re experiencing persistent tennis elbow, don’t hesitate to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment.

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Check out our other articles for more information on elbow pain and sports injuries:

  • [How to Prevent Tennis Elbow]
  • [Effective Stretches for Tennis Elbow Recovery]
  • [When to See a Doctor for Elbow Pain]

Additional Info about Will Tennis Elbow Ever Go Away

Is it possible for tennis elbow to go away on its own?

Tennis elbow can go away on its own in some cases, especially if it is mild and treated early. Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce inflammation and pain. However, if the condition is severe or does not respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary.

How long does it take for tennis elbow to go away?

The time it takes for tennis elbow to go away varies depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment. Mild cases may resolve within a few weeks, while severe cases may take several months or even years to heal.

What is the best treatment for tennis elbow?

The best treatment for tennis elbow depends on the severity of the condition. Conservative treatment options include rest, ice, compression, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Physical therapy can also be helpful in strengthening the muscles around the elbow and improving range of motion. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged tendon.

Can tennis elbow be prevented?

Tennis elbow can be prevented by warming up properly before playing tennis or doing other activities that put stress on the elbow. It is also important to use proper technique when playing tennis and to avoid overdoing it.

What are the risk factors for developing tennis elbow?

The risk factors for developing tennis elbow include:

  • Playing tennis or other racquet sports
  • Doing repetitive motions that involve the elbow
  • Having a job that requires heavy lifting or manual labor
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • Having diabetes

Is it safe to play tennis with tennis elbow?

Playing tennis with tennis elbow is not recommended, as it can aggravate the condition. It is important to rest the elbow and allow it to heal before returning to tennis.

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What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

The symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain on the outside of the elbow
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Difficulty gripping objects
  • Stiffness and swelling in the elbow

How is tennis elbow diagnosed?

Tennis elbow is diagnosed based on a physical examination and the patient’s medical history. X-rays or other imaging tests may be ordered to rule out other conditions.

What is the prognosis for tennis elbow?

The prognosis for tennis elbow is generally good. Most people recover with conservative treatment, but it can take several months or even years for the condition to resolve completely.

Are there any complications associated with tennis elbow?

In rare cases, tennis elbow can lead to complications, such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Tendon rupture