As we go about our day to day lives, it’s not uncommon for people to experience random bouts of dull pain or soreness. However, in some instances that pain may be indicative of a potentially harmful condition. If you’ve ever experienced pain in the crook of your elbow, forearm, or wrist but wrote it off as a nonissue, you may be experiencing tennis elbow. If these symptoms sound familiar, you may be wondering: “How long does tennis elbow last?” Keep reading to learn more about this condition and how to treat it.
What Is Tennis Elbow & How Is It Caused?
Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a type of tendonitis that causes soreness or pain on the outer part of the elbow. This pain results from inflicting damage to the tendons that connect the muscles of your elbow and forearm. The damage that causes the condition is usually the result of overuse; this typically occurs in people performing activities where they twist their arm over and over. This strains the tendon, causing micro-tears that inflict pain.
Because of the repetitive activity it takes to swing a tennis racket, tennis elbow is commonly experienced by tennis players. However, that’s not to say that you can’t get it from other sports like baseball, golf, or bowling. You can even get it from non-athletic activities like gardening or painting. And although anyone can get tennis elbow, it is most commonly seen in adults above the age of 40 or overactive individuals.
Here are some additional common causes in cases of tennis elbow:
- Weight lifting
If you regularly engage in these activities or something that requires a similar range of motion, it’s important to give your arms adequate rest to prevent tennis elbow.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
There are some specific symptoms that may indicate whether or not your pain and inflammation are resulting from tendonitis. The most common area to experience pain is in the sharp knob on the outside of your elbow. You may also experience pain when you try to lift something, shake hands, open a door, raise your hand, or tightly grip an object.
How Is Tennis Elbow Diagnosed?
In most cases, you won’t have any diagnostic imaging to diagnose tennis elbow. Your doctor will likely ask you a series of questions about the pain you are experiencing, past injuries, and activities that may have caused it; this is usually more than enough information to deduce whether or not you have tennis elbow. If your symptoms don’t get better over time, then your doctor may suggest an X-ray or additional imaging to rule out other causes of pain.
How Long Does a Tennis Elbow Take to Heal?
Assuming that the injury is not particularly serious and that a patient follows the advice of their doctor, most people tend to feel relief from their pain within a few weeks. However, it may take even longer for the tendon to heal itself, with pain lasting up to two years in some cases.
How Do You Heal Tennis Elbows Fast?
To ensure that your injury heals quickly and correctly, there are some important guidelines to follow. If you have deduced that the cause of your tennis elbow is a particular activity, it’s important that you cease to exert yourself in that way until the injury has fully healed. You should also take care to take it easy in general. Although you may have stopped doing the activity that caused your tendonitis, anything that puts a strain on the tendons can cause further damage. In some cases, tennis elbow can be treated at home by simply allowing your body to rest.
Why Is My Tennis Elbow Not Healing?
Although tennis elbow can be treated at home, you may be wondering why your pain isn’t getting any better. Here are some potential causes:
You’ve been misdiagnosed
- Whether you’ve seen a doctor or diagnosed yourself with tennis elbow, people make mistakes. If the pain hasn’t stopped, it’s important to seek medical attention and get to the bottom of your pain.
You’ve resumed activity too soon
- In many cases, people with tennis elbow no longer have pain after a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean that the tendons have fully healed. Give your body ample time for tennis elbow recovery.
When to See a Doctor
If you tried healing your elbow at home but your pain hasn’t gone away or has worsened after several weeks, you need to see a doctor right away. It could mean that you do not have tendonitis or that the damage to the tendons is more extensive than what should be treated at home.
Visit Village Emergency Centers
At Village Emergency Centers, we believe in offering quality care and medical advice. If you have tennis elbow, a sports injury, or any other emergency, we are ready and able to help you. Contact us today or visit our website to make an appointment. We offer affordable care with transparent billing and accept most insurances, including Medicare! We can answer your questions about how long does tennis elbow last and put you on the best course of treatment to get you feeling better.