Tuesday, Aug 01, 2023 7 min read

How Long Does Tennis Elbow Last? What To Know

Bridget Reed

How Long Does Tennis Elbow Last? What To Know product
How Long Does Tennis Elbow Last? What To Know

As avid athletes or fitness enthusiasts, we know how much you value strength, agility, and movement. But, when discomfort sneaks into your elbow, turning even a simple handshake into a task, your performance might take a backseat. 

If you're noticing a twinge in your elbow, you could be encountering a common yet often misunderstood condition known as tennis elbow. But, with the right know-how, this discomfort is a hurdle you can overcome. 

How? Let’s get into it.


What Is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow — more formally known as lateral epicondylitis — is an overuse injury. The tendons connecting your forearm muscles to your elbow bear the brunt of this condition. 

Constant strain can result in micro-tears in these tendons, leading to discomfort and possibly an impact on strength and mobility. It's more than an annoyance — it can hinder your ability to excel and find joy in your active lifestyle or even basic everyday tasks.


What Can Cause Tennis Elbow?

While commonly associated with tennis, the unfortunate reality is that any activity involving repetitive arm, elbow, or wrist movements can trigger tennis elbow, even if you’ve never stepped foot on the tennis court.

From the consistent tapping of keyboard keys to the regular lifting of weights or even the repeated turn of a screwdriver — all these actions can contribute to tennis elbow. And, unlike other common injuries such as a twisted ankle or pulled muscle, tennis elbow isn’t usually caused by a single specific incident. Instead, tennis elbow is typically an outcome of continued and repetitive strain over time.

Age also plays a role in the development of tennis elbow. While anyone can experience tennis elbow, it's typically more prevalent among adults aged between 30 to 50 years. 

So, even if you don't spend time perfecting your serve on the tennis court, being aware of the risk factors and triggers is essential to maintaining an active and comfortable lifestyle.


What Are the Signs of Tennis Elbow?

The onset of tennis elbow is often characterized by a range of symptoms. Here's what you should look out for:

  • Discomfort in the outer part of the elbow that may radiate into the forearm and wrist
  • Increased discomfort during activities involving gripping or lifting objects
  • A decrease in grip strength, making it hard to hold onto objects
  • Persistent discomfort, even when your arm is idle
  • A gradual increase in symptoms over weeks or months, starting from mild discomfort to more pronounced signs

These symptoms might appear slowly, progressively escalating. If these resonate with your experience, don't brush them off. Acknowledging them is the first step in providing your body the support it requires for an effective recovery.


How Long Does Tennis Elbow Last?

Tennis elbow, like many overuse injuries, doesn't have a fixed recovery timeline. The duration of tennis elbow can be as varied as the individuals who experience it, depending largely on the severity of the condition and each person's unique response to supportive measures.

Often, with conscientious rest and alterations in lifestyle, individuals might observe a reduction in discomfort within a few weeks to months. But, there are instances where the symptoms might take six months or more to fully dissipate. 

Remember, this isn't a test of speed but rather of resilience and patience. It's crucial to remember that the ultimate goal isn't just to ease the discomfort but to facilitate your body's innate healing process.


What Factors Can Prolong Recovery Time?

To best navigate the path to recovery, it’s important to remain aware of habits, actions, or conditions that could potentially prolong the healing process of tennis elbow:

  • Persistent Aggravating Activities: Persisting with activities that strain the impacted tendons can impede recovery and may intensify the condition. It's vital to grant your body the respite it needs and either avoid or modify actions that heighten discomfort. 

  • Overlooking the Issue: Disregarding signs of tennis elbow, hoping they'll vanish without intervention, can lead to an extended recovery period. Early recognition and action toward supporting your body can pave the way for a more seamless recovery process.

  • Insufficient Sleep: Sleep is a key player in recovery. This is an uninterrupted time when your body can allocate ample resources to the healing process, and without enough of it, your body might be left grappling with healing effectively. 

  • Unbalanced Nutrition: Nutrition is integral to your body's ability to heal. A balanced diet, replete with the necessary vitamins and minerals, assists in bolstering your body's natural healing processes.

Remember, recovery isn't a checkered flag at the end of a race. It's a process that demands understanding your body's needs and providing the necessary support. Undertaken patiently and mindfully, it can lead to a more effective recovery, keeping you resilient and on the move for the long haul.


Methods To Encourage Recovery

Recovery from tennis elbow is a journey, and there are several strategies you can employ to support the healing process and soothe discomfort.


Rest and Moderation

Rest is crucial in any recovery process. Giving your body the time it needs to repair and rejuvenate can help soothe discomfort. 

If you're itching to get back to the activities you love, we understand. Luckily, rest doesn't necessarily mean complete inactivity. Instead, it's about moderation and finding a balance between activity and rest to avoid exacerbating the tension in your elbow. 

While healing from tennis elbow, ease back into your athletic endeavors slowly. Always listen to your body, and don’t ignore the signs when it’s telling you to pull back or pause. 


Targeted Exercises

Gentle and consistent movements can aid recovery by reducing tension and supporting healthy circulation. 

Simple exercises can help restore mobility, improve strength, and promote flexibility in your elbow. But remember, it's essential to approach this with care and listen to your body's signals to avoid overexertion.


Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is key to supporting your body's natural recovery processes. Start by incorporating vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, strawberries, and bell peppers, which promote collagen production — a protein essential for healthy tendons. Complement this with Omega-3 fatty acids from sources like fish, chia seeds, and walnuts to bolster your body's response to discomfort and tension.

In addition, including zinc-rich foods such as meat, shellfish, and legumes in your diet aids cellular repair and recovery. Finally, don't forget antioxidant-rich foods. Berries, dark chocolate, spinach, and beetroot can help protect your body from cellular damage. 

By integrating these nutrient-dense foods into your daily meals, you equip your body with the necessary tools for its natural healing journey.


Compression Support

When experiencing discomfort in the elbow, the right technology can make all the difference to your quality of life.

Our Copper Fit elbow sleeves harness the power of targeted compression, designed to support healthy blood flow to help soothe discomfort in muscles and joints. Healthy blood flow can aid in flushing out lactic acid build-up, which is often associated with muscle tension and discomfort. 

Further enhancing comfort, the seamless knit design offers extra support without limiting your freedom of movement. Our copper-infused technology not only helps reduce odors but also creates a product that is comfortable to wear for extended periods, providing consistent support as your body works toward recovery.


Prevention Tips: Avoiding Tennis Elbow in the Future

Preventing tennis elbow is as important as managing it, and it often revolves around maintaining good habits in your regular activities. Here are some suggestions to support you on this path:

  • Good Form: Regardless of the activity, whether it's tennis, weight lifting, or even typing, always ensure you're using proper form. Good form reduces unnecessary strain and helps distribute the workload evenly across your muscles and joints.

  • Regular Rest: Just as your body needs activity, it also requires rest. Intersperse periods of activity with regular rest to avoid overexertion and support your body's natural healing process.

  • Balanced Activity: Vary your activities to prevent overuse of certain muscles and joints. By introducing a range of motion into your routine, you support the overall health and balance of your body.

  • Body Awareness: Always listen to your body. Recognizing and responding to your body's signals can help you avoid pushing beyond your limits and prevent potential issues before they occur.

Tennis elbow may pose a challenge, but it's important to note it's a common issue that can be managed effectively with the right approach. Patience, understanding, and attentiveness to your body's needs are crucial elements for successful recovery.


The Bottom Line

Tennis elbow might require you to make temporary adjustments in your routine, but it doesn't dictate the course of your overall fitness journey. Setbacks like these serve as opportunities for growth, teaching us how to refine our routines and understand our body's unique limits and capabilities.

In navigating this process, Copper Fit can be an integral part of your recovery regimen, designed to help soothe discomfort and support healthy circulation. But remember, your resilience and determination are the primary drivers of your journey toward maintaining an active lifestyle.

The course ahead may be tough, but armed with the right knowledge, tools, and an unwavering commitment to your health, you possess the strength to overcome any hurdle that stands in your way. 

Keep moving, keep striving, and remember that every step you take is a testament to your strength. Today, you're not just healing; you're becoming stronger than ever. 


Tennis Elbow | Mayo Clinic

How does sleep help recovery from exercise-induced muscle injuries? | PMC

Therapeutic Exercise Program for Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow / Golfer’s Elbow) | American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons 

Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts | PMC

Tendon healing: can it be optimised? | British Journal of Sports Medicine

Roles of Oxidative Stress in Acute Tendon Injury and Degenerative Tendinopathy—A Target for Intervention | PMC 

Impact of Active Recovery and Whole-Body Electromyostimulation on Blood-Flow and Blood Lactate Removal in Healthy People | Frontiers 

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