Will Tennis Elbow Heal: A Comprehensive Guide for Athletes


Hey readers,

Are you an avid tennis player who’s been sidelined by a nagging pain in your elbow? You’re not alone. Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common condition that affects the outside of the elbow. It’s caused by overuse of the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the elbow bone. If you’re wondering, "Will tennis elbow heal?", this article will provide you with all the information you need to know about healing time and recovery.

Understanding Tennis Elbow

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow occurs due to repeated and forceful use of the extensor tendons in the forearm. These tendons are responsible for extending the wrist and fingers. Over time, micro-tears can develop in these tendons, leading to inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Tennis, as its name suggests, is a common culprit, but other activities like painting, carpentry, or even typing can also trigger it.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain on the outside of the elbow. The pain may be sharp or dull, and it can worsen when you make a fist, extend your wrist, or rotate your forearm. Other symptoms include:

  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Stiffness in the elbow
  • Weakness in the forearm
  • Difficulty gripping objects
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Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow

Conservative Treatment

Most cases of tennis elbow can be managed with conservative treatment, such as:


Avoid activities that aggravate your pain. This will give your tendons time to heal.


Apply ice to your elbow for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen the muscles around your elbow and improve flexibility.

Cortisone Injections

Cortisone injections can reduce inflammation and pain in the short term. However, they should only be used sparingly.

Surgical Treatment

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged tendons.

Healing Time and Recovery

How Long Does Tennis Elbow Take to Heal?

The healing time for tennis elbow can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment. Most people recover within a few weeks or months with conservative treatment. However, some cases may take longer to heal or may require surgical intervention.

Rehabilitation After Tennis Elbow

Once your pain has subsided, it’s important to follow a rehabilitation program to strengthen the muscles around your elbow and prevent the condition from recurring. This may include:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Proprioceptive exercises (to improve balance and coordination)

Table: Comparing Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow

Treatment Option Benefits Drawbacks
Rest Non-invasive, no side effects May take longer to heal
Ice Reduces inflammation and pain Short-term relief only
Physical Therapy Strengthens muscles, improves flexibility Can be time-consuming
Cortisone Injections Rapid pain relief Can weaken tendons, potential side effects
Surgery Permanent solution for severe cases Invasive, recovery time
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If you’re experiencing pain on the outside of your elbow, it’s important to seek medical attention to rule out other potential conditions. If you’re diagnosed with tennis elbow, rest assured that it’s a common condition with a good prognosis. With proper treatment and rehabilitation, most people recover fully and can return to their favorite activities.

Check out our other articles for more information on tennis elbow and other sports-related injuries:

  • [How to Prevent Tennis Elbow]
  • [The Best Exercises for Tennis Elbow]
  • [When to See a Doctor for Tennis Elbow]

Additional info about Will tennis elbow heal

1. How long does it take for tennis elbow to heal?

Answer: Most cases of tennis elbow heal within 6-12 months with proper treatment.

2. Can tennis elbow heal on its own?

Answer: While some mild cases may resolve on their own, most cases require treatment to fully heal.

3. What is the best way to treat tennis elbow?

Answer: Conservative treatments such as rest, ice, and physical therapy are typically the first line of defense. Surgery may be considered for severe or persistent cases.

4. Can I still play tennis with tennis elbow?

Answer: It is not recommended to play tennis while experiencing tennis elbow. Continuing to play can worsen the condition.

5. What exercises can help with tennis elbow?

Answer: Exercises that strengthen the forearm muscles, such as wrist curls and reverse wrist curls, can help alleviate pain and improve function.

6. Does cortisone injection help tennis elbow?

Answer: Cortisone injections can provide temporary pain relief, but they do not address the underlying cause of the condition and can weaken the tendon over time.

7. What is the recovery time after tennis elbow surgery?

Answer: Recovery time after surgery varies, but most patients can expect to return to normal activities within 4-6 months.

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8. Can tennis elbow cause permanent damage?

Answer: If left untreated, tennis elbow can lead to chronic pain and disability. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent permanent damage.

9. What are the risk factors for developing tennis elbow?

Answer: Repetitive arm and wrist motions, such as those involved in tennis, weightlifting, and carpentry, increase the risk of developing tennis elbow.

10. Can tennis elbow be prevented?

Answer: Using proper technique during activities that involve repetitive arm and wrist motions, warming up before exercise, and strengthening forearm muscles can help prevent tennis elbow.