If you were to mention the most interesting games in this world, tennis is definitely at the top loss for most people. There are so many reasons why a lot of people love this game. And as much as it seems that only hands are involved in the whole game, under the surface, you will discover that the whole body is involved. The aim is not to learn about tennis but to highlight why tennis elbow is such a popular name, even though, most times, tennis is not the cause of the condition.
Tennis elbow is common, so people question how long tennis elbow lasts. Moreover, under this section, you will be able to learn everything you need to know to fight against the occurrence of a tennis elbow.
1. How Long Does Tennis Elbow Last?
Tennis elbow is the pain experienced on the outer lateral side of the elbow. It can begin as minor pain that comes and goes, but over time, it might develop into a constant pain that is felt at any time when you try to use your forearm or elbow daily. In simple terms, tennis elbow falls under all types of elbow pain.
Tennis elbow might take weeks, months, or even years to fully recover. Several variables, including how severe your initial pain was and how well you adhered to your doctor’s instructions, may affect how long it takes you to recover. Although you may have relief much sooner than that, the tendon typically heals over six months to a year. Even if you adhere to your treatment plan, tennis elbow might occasionally continue for up to two years.
You may need to take preventative measures, such as learning a new approach to perform an activity, to make sure the injury doesn’t flare up again. To avoid reinjuring yourself, you might need to alter your grip or your equipment. To give your tendon enough time to stretch and limber up, thoroughly warm up before exercising. After your activity is complete, apply ice to minimize swelling. Be patient, above everything. It takes time to heal.
1.1. What Are the Types of Elbow Pain?
Before getting on deeper with tennis elbow, we need to understand the types of elbow pains so that other elbow pains will not be mistaken for tennis elbow. Under elbow pain, there is Elbow arthritis and elbow epicondylitis.
Elbow arthritis is a pain as a result of previous pain. It is not a very common type of pain and is often associated with previous injuries or age.
On the other hand, elbow epicondylitis is the type of elbow pain resulting from overuse of other tendons. Now, under epicondylitis, there is the medial epicondylitis and the lateral epicondylitis. The medial epicondylitis is also known as the golfer’s elbow, and the lateral epicondylitis is known as the tennis elbow.
The golfer’s elbow is less common than the tennis elbow. The elbow has epicondyles (bony bumps) that tendons attach themselves to; the condyle in the middle is known as the medial epicondyle, and the one on the outer side is known as the lateral epicondyle.
2. How Does Tennis Elbow Happen?
To understand the occurrence of the tennis elbow, you’ll need to be aware of the anatomy and the elbow. The upper arm bone and the forearm form the elbow joint. The forearm muscles that extend the wrist and open the fingers are all attached to the outer part of the elbow and are scientifically called the lateral epicondyle. Another group of flexor muscles attach to the inner or medial epicondyle.
An imbalance between these muscle groups can cause a shift in the humeral radial joint. The shift in the joint will affect the tendons that hold the muscles and the upper arm bone together; the tendon damage, which is felt, is what brings about tennis elbow. Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis. It is a tendon injury resulting from the tendon’s tear and wear attached to the lateral epicondyle. Often, the pain is felt on the outer elbow.
When the forearm muscles are overused, all the tension travels up to the tendon, making it bear all the load with time. The tendon develops a condition called tendonitis, which. In most cases, a tennis elbow has a mechanical cause, and rarely has the data shown it can also be caused by certain biotics. The extensor that often leads to the tennis elbow is known as the carpi radialis. Its unique structure exposes it to mechanical injury when the arm is moved in any direction.
3. What Are the Causes of Tennis Elbow?
The main cause of tennis elbow is tendon injuries. When your forearm muscles and tendons experience unbalanced tension, microtears will form. In the healing process, there will be inflammation and even swelling and, as a result, pain in the elbow.
3.1. Activities Done
Tennis elbow is not just for sports people; for anyone involved in activities or jobs requiring repetitive forearm movement, it is easy to develop a tennis elbow. Sports trainers, Plumbers, butchers, and carpenters all have a high chance of developing a tennis elbow.
When it comes to age, tennis elbow often affects people aged from 30 -to 50; this is most likely because, at this age range, most people are active, ages. Therefore, it is easy for them to participate in activities that can put tension on the elbow joint tendons and ligaments, and also, it is easy to overuse.
3.3. Unknown Causes
There are many times when lateral epicondylitis occurs without any specific cause; it just happens, and after a few days, it disappears.
4. Why Is It Called Tennis Elbow?
There should be a reason why this condition is referred to as a tennis elbow, even though it is not always an injury caused by tennis. Even if you need to be better informed on how tennis works, you know that tennis uses their hands more than any game.
Because of this, there is a high chance this condition affects tennis players more often than any other group of people, hence the condition’s name. The reoccurrence of this condition among tennis players led to its name. Given the name, it does not mean that only tennis players have this condition; it can happen to anyone.
As long as individuals use their forearm or elbow joint, they are more susceptible to tennis elbow than any other group. It should be remembered that tennis elbow affects all genders, mostly individuals aged between 30 and 50. This means that people who work in fields that require excessive arm use are more likely to have a tennis elbow that includes, including tennis players, golfers, butchers,
5. What Are the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?
Sharp elbow pain. The pain is very specific on the elbow; if it has been there for a long while, it can radiate to the shoulder area, the neck sometimes, and down to your wrist.
The tension that is created may affect the radial nerve that runs along the arm, neck, and shoulder, and as a result, you will feel pain anywhere along the line of the radial nerve. However, when it comes to pain and numbness of the wrist, it is not necessarily because of the compressed radial nerve. Sometimes, it is carpel tunnel syndrome.
Swelling of the elbow. Since there will be inflammation on the joint, it is normal that severe swelling will manifest on the joint itself in some severe cases.
Weak and painful grip. As long as the tendons and ligaments are strained, you will experience pain. Therefore, with tennis elbow pain, it may be challenging to pick up things, be they heavy or light, or even do simple daily activities such as sweeping, hammering, or using the keyboard.
5.1. When Should You See a Doctor?
Not all elbow pains are tennis elbow; other conditions can look or seem like tennis elbow. Most elbow pain takes several weeks or days after taking painkillers; others do your stretches.
If you think the pain is taking a while, you should see a doctor. When you notice redness and serious swelling of the elbow joint, it is time for you to see a doctor. When you feel numbness or tingling, it is time to visit a doctor.
The sure way to diagnose tennis elbow is by having it diagnosed by professional doctors. Many people tend to self-diagnose and start their treatment plans, but there are many chances that you might misdiagnose the pain. The method of diagnosing tennis elbow can be an x-ray, the x-ray machine will examine the bone and joint structure and help the doctors see whether the elbow pain is arthritis.
Electromyography will be used to assess the new activities of your arms to see if the pain you are having is more of a nerve-related case rather than a tendon, ligament, or joint-related case. Magnetic resonance imagery (MRI scan) is used to examine the joint to see the depth of the damage on the tendon.
Physical exam or assessment is the most used method at all levels; healthcare professionals or physical therapy clinics will test your range of motion, pain level, and stand things you can and cannot do. However, with this method, it can be easy to misdiagnose the pain.
6. How Do You Treat Tennis Elbow?
People with tennis elbow tend to heal after a few weeks. There is an absolute way of treating tennis elbow. The best thing that can be done is to ensure treatment is consistent with what the medical professionals have laid out for you. However, some things can be done to help with all the complications associated with Tenno’s elbow. Different methods are used to treat tennis elbow and are classified into three parts.
6.1. Conservative Methods
Conservative methods are all the methods that do not involve skin innervation. Physical therapy and all other surface treatments, such as exercise, massage, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, and rest, fall here.
6.1.1. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is one of the sure ways that you can use to treat a tennis elbow. Many modalities and treatments, such as electrotherapy shock wave therapy, can help you manage the pain best. A physical therapist will introduce different exercises, muscle-stimulating techniques, and treatment regimes. It takes a while to see significant changes, but as mentioned before, consistency is the key to healing.
6.1.2. Extracorporeal Wave Therapy
This is a noninvasive wave therapy in which the waves are sent to the joint to reinjury the tendon area and break the scar tissue penetrating the tendons and ligaments. The reinjury healing process leads to the regeneration of blood vessels and increases blood flow.
Since Tennis elbow is often mechanically induced, it is best to avoid all the movements that will strain your elbow joint by having plenty of armrests to allow healing and recovery of the joints along with all the other treatments the professionals offer.
6.1.4. Elbow Braces
Wearing elbow braces can help you accelerate the healing of the injured tendon. The braces compress the joint, thus reducing pain, and also regulate the movements that your joint can make, and, in turn, quickening the healing process. In most cases, if you are a sports person, you are advised to have elbow braces on even if you are not suffering from tennis elbow.
Braces are there to minimize the pain by repositioning the muscles. In most cases, braces ease pain by half. There are different brace; your choice depends on what makes you comfortable. Braces do not treat the essentially treat tennis elbow; they help you carry out activities with lesser pain. If you have pain with a brace, you must take them off.
There are many complications with Tennis elbow. Different medicines sometimes ease pain and swelling as per doctors’ instructions. Medicines such as ibuprofen can reduce the inflammation of the joint to a large extent. Pain medicine often does not guarantee complete healing or completely stop the pain, but it might regulate all the other complications associated with tennis elbow.
6.2. Minimum Invasive Treatment
As the name suggests, the skin will be intervened at a very minimum amount with this treatment method.
6.2.1. Steroid Injection
The cortisone injection can be used; it is injected directly into the pain area, thus making it effective. Most people prefer his method, but the pain might often reoccur. If you are wondering how long an elbow injection lasts, it can last from weeks to months depending on the patient.
6.2.2. Physical Exam
This is the most used method at all levels; healthcare professionals or physical therapy clinics will test your range of motion, pain level, and stand things you can and cannot do. However, with this method, it can be easy to misdiagnose the pain.
7. How Long Does Tennis Elbow Take to Be Completely Healed?
Tennis elbow recovery should last a maximum of a year with effective treatment when treating joints. When in sickness, the only thing that runs through the mind is how long one will be in that situation and, more importantly, if there is any way of making the healing process shorter; most people will decide to choose the shorter ways, but it should be remembered that ligaments, and tendons injuries or a tennis elbow surgery do not take a day or a week to recover.
Under normal circumstances, a tennis elbow will take 6 months to a year to heal; sometimes, it can extend to 2 years. The speed of healing often depends on a consistent treatment routine, physical therapy, and following all the necessary precautions that the medical care professionals have given you.
7.1. What Are the Factors That Affect a Tennis Elbow
Many patients have taken longer than normal to recover from tennis elbow, even after several physical therapy sessions. The factors that can affect the healing of a tennis elbow are listed below:
There are many instances in which other types of elbow pain are mistaken for tennis elbow, and as a result, people receive treatment that is not required.
Activities that the individual does can affect the healing process. It can be easy to keep doing the same activities that lead to the pain in the first place; for most people, it is because their work requires them to use their forearms, so they are forced to take treatments and at the same time keep o with their daily activities, without realizing, the tearing of the tendons will not get any better.
Age is another major factor that can contribute to the healing process of the tennis elbow. Now that we know that for a tennis elbow to heal completely, the tendons of the radical’s carp need to heal and regenerate, but the regeneration process in elderly patients is generally slower than in other patients; thus, it is not easy for older patients to recover easily from tennis elbow.
7.1.4. Treatment Given
There are different levels of tennis elbow, and depending on the level, different treatments will be administered. As much as people think that physical therapy, such as shockwave therapy, can treat all joint issues, there are many cases where it just does not work, and there is a need to take the treatment plan to another level. Therefore, if your doctors understand the treatment you need, you will heal faster by sticking to a treatment plan that does not service your pain level.
It is easy to give when receiving tennis elbow treatment, often because the healing process can take longer than normal, and most people give you or skip some of their physical therapy sessions.
8. How to Prevent Tennis Elbow
It is known that in the long run, most shorter ways lead to destruction; healing a tennis elbow is not child’s play. There are many permanent and temporary solutions, but the focus should not just be present; the future should be the picture of everything we do. We are taking precautions not to overuse the forearm muscles and tendons.
All gamers or anyone who feels they need to extend their arm muscles against workplace resistance, such as weightlifting activities, must learn and practice techniques to help them find balance.
Most people tend to ignore the pain, and often, when performing activities, the pain might not be as intense, and it kicks in when one is done. If you notice any elbow pain, please check it immediately. This will help you avoid chronic pain and an extended rehabilitation time. Wearing braces is also a good way to help avoid tennis elbow, as the braces will help you prevent overextension of your elbow.
9. Dos and Don’t for a Tennis Elbow
There are personal roles that can be done and some that should be avoided to help with the tennis elbow aside from medical assistance.
What is done daily will determine whether the tennis elbow will heal quickly or not. So, knowing what can and cannot be done is important. All things do not guarantee immediate treatment. However, they will have long-lasting effects and help you avoid future occurrences of tennis elbow.
9.1. DOs for Tennis Elbow Treatment
If you are concerned about how long your tennis elbow lasts, you can quicken the process by making sure that you avoid all the things that accelerate and overstrain your joint; therefore, you need to give your injured armrest as much as you can to promote the tendon to heal and prevent further tearing of the tendon.
Stretching exercises. Your physical therapist will give you many stretching exercises you must practice independently; you need to catch those stretches. Stretching and other muscle-strengthening exercises help increase the healing process.
- Massage your area now and then; if you do not know how to do it, you can visit physical therapy clinics for professional massages.
- Load management, make sure that you are forearm muscles bear a reasonable weight.
- Take breaks when doing activities that require repetitive arm motion.
- Avoid all arm movements that require you to reach your end range of motion.
- Use both arms to lift things.
- and avoid anything that requires you to grasp.
9.2. DON’Ts for a Tennis Elbow Treatment
All the activities that cause tension in your joints should be avoided. These activities include the ones that involve over-extension or rotation of the wrist.
For sports personalities, avoid overdoing physical activities that can result in tension in your joints or any exercise that will hurt you. Doing this will give time for the tendons to heal.
10. Final Words
It is completely normal for an individual to feel like the road to treating a tennis elbow is taking forever; that is why the major concern of every patient is how long it takes to treat the tennis elbow.
However, tennis elbow treated professionals will take little time, and more importantly, if a tennis elbow is diagnosed early and treated, the healing process will be much smoother than expected. It all comes down to how badly the patient wants to be healed; the earlier, the better.
For a better treatment regime, make sure that at all times, you work with medical professionals in the field instead of self-diagnosis and treatment.