You’ve landed on this page most likely because you have tennis elbow and want to know how long does it take for tennis elbow to heal properly.
Well, I have some good news and some bad news.
First for the bad news.
There is no magic fix for tennis elbow that can happen overnight.
I wish I could tell you that it is as simple as waving a magic wand and poof – healed.
The best news you can hear is that there are simple steps you can take this very minute to ensure that your tennis elbow healing time is dramatically reduced.
You need to put your detective skills to the test.
Here’s the thing:
You need to first figure out which stage of tennis elbow you are in?
Are you in the acute or chronic phase?
The acute phase is when you have had tennis elbow for 3 weeks or less.
Chronic phase is greater than 3 weeks.
The big difference in the 2 stages is that individuals who have had tennis elbow for 3 weeks or less usually show signs of inflammation and swelling in their affected elbow.
The best way to help cut your healing time down is this stage is by applying ice to your elbow.
If you’ve been suffering from tennis elbow for longer than 3 weeks, you most likely don’t have any signs of swelling and you can benefit from applying heat to your elbow.
So how long can it take for tennis elbow to completely heal?
Before I reveal the answer to this question, it is important that you pinpoint exactly how you got tennis elbow.
Just like the millions of people who develop tennis elbow yearly, you most likely didn’t get tennis elbow from playing tennis – despite the name “tennis elbow”.
In fact, the majority of people who are stricken with tennis elbow each year have never even swung a tennis racquet.
There can be many contributing factors and causes of tennis elbow, which in turn can affect your healing time.
But one thing is for certain:
Regardless of how you got tennis elbow, your injury was caused by performing repetitive tasks with your dominant arm.
But the sad truth is that if you don’t take the time to nail down which specific activity where you are using your arm in a repetitive nature, especially performing excessive wrist extension, you will never rid yourself of this terrible injury.
Combined with the fact that some individuals have very weak arm muscles and can be at higher risk of developing injuries in this area.
If you have weak forearm muscles, you are at a higher risk of getting tennis elbow for the simply fact that even the easiest of tasks can put excess strain on your forearm flexors and extensors.
But what is more important when it comes to decreasing your healing time, is whether or not your will decrease the amount of time you spend on the movement or action that was the direct cause of your tennis elbow in the first place.
Best Practices to Cut Your Tennis Elbow Healing Time In Half
Identifying exactly what it is that has caused your injury and take time away from it.
For some people this can be quite difficult and challenging to say for sure what caused their injury, as they are constantly active and rarely take time for themselves.
Taking time off or even slowing down is out of the question if you are one of these people.
For example, activities such as gardening, home improvement projects, prolonged hammering, painting, holding your mobile phone to your ear for long periods of time or even knitting can be strenuous enough to cause tennis elbow.
These types of everyday activities should not be ruled out or overlooked!
Have your elbow looked at by a Medical Doctor.
In order to start on solid and clear path to recovery, a tennis elbow diagnosis from your Doctor is required.
Otherwise you could be wasting valuable time and money.
Once it is confirmed you have tennis elbow, hopefully it is not a complete tear of your extensor tendon.
If you have a complete tear, there is no way your elbow will heal on it’s own or with aggressive therapy.
Complete tears of the extensor tendon have to be surgically repaired with the tendon re-attached at your arm bone.
What can drastically affect your healing time from tennis elbow is how early you catch it.
The earlier you have your injury confirmed and verified, the quicker you can recover and get back to using your arm again.
Maybe I am wrong about you but you’ve probably had tennis elbow for some time but now your pain has gotten so bad that it is almost unbearable and you have no other option but to take action and start treating it.
But the good news is that you can start treatment without having to waste your hard earned cash on things that take away your money and not your pain (we’ll get to that in a minute).
Before you waste hundreds of dollars on Doctors and physical therapy (been there done that), you should know that there are alternative methods to healing and treating tennis elbow that are very effective in completely curing tennis elbow without even leaving your four walls.
Alternative Healing Methods for Tennis Elbow
What can really help your healing time from tennis elbow is giving alternative treatments a try.
Everyone’s body is different and it’s worth a try, especially if you are on a budget and most likely already have some of this things readily available in your home.
Having a strong and healthy immune system can help your body repair itself faster.
When you have tennis elbow, your damaged tendons need healthy, mineral rich blood to repair itself.
You can take Vitamin C supplements which can help repair your damaged extensor tendon faster.
Vitamins B6 and B3 can help reduce the amount of inflammation and swelling you may have.
Just like most vitamins, they are totally safe because they are water soluble vitamins and easy for your body to absorb with no very slight side effects.
Tennis elbow stretches
These are actually quite simple to do.
Simply hold your affected arm straight out in front of you, palm facing down.
Now bend your wrist downwards.
Use your other hand to grab your fingers and pull them towards you.
You should feel a stretch along the top of your forearm.
Hold this stretch for 10 seconds.
Do this 2-3 times a day.
Tennis elbow treatment exercises
Just like any injury, exercise is imperative when trying to get your strength back to where it was before your injury. See my top 10 most effective tennis elbow exercises of all time post which has been shared, tweeted, liked over 500 times.
Warning: You should never start an exercise program if you are experiencing severe elbow pain to the point that you can’t even straighten your arm.
After competition of the exercises for tennis elbow, you should immediately apply ice(not directly to the skin) to help decrease/control any swelling or inflammation(if you’ve had tennis elbow for 3 weeks or less) and/or heat therapy(if you’ve had tennis elbow for longer than 3 weeks) to accelerate the healing process.
Take time off if you can. As with any injury, resting your arm will only do you good.
Your body needs time to heal and if you do not rest and let your body repair itself, your tennis elbow will take even longer to heal.
I don’t mean total rest as in immobilization of your arm and not using it all.
Be smart and avoid things that hurt
Even taking out the garbage can cause any gains you’ve made in repair and recovery come “unglued” quickly.
Try using your unaffected arm as much as you can for a few days.
This may be hard to do but it is worth it.
After a few days your arm will start to feel better and then you can start taking on some easy tasks and chores until you work your way up to your normal daily activities.
Let me remind you again to avoid doing repetitive tasks with your affected arm!
My next recommendation on how to speed up your tennis elbow healing time is actually something that you should completely avoid and steer clear of, despite it’s popularity.
Wearing an elbow brace or strap will make your tennis elbow worse.
You may be shocked to hear this but I am telling you from personal experience and it’s backed by medical research.
There are primarily 2 reasons why any kind of elbow brace, strap or support will only make your tennis elbow worse and extend your pain and suffering( jump to the complete report ).
First, elbow braces simply serve one purpose and one purpose only – complete immobilization of your injured and affected elbow.
As a tennis elbow sufferer, you need to strengthen your injured muscles and tendons, not make them weaker.
The complete immobilization of your arm only bolsters muscle atrophy and weakness.
How can I say this?
Go ahead, give it a shot.
Go out and purchase one and wear it for a day or two and then take it off.
I guarantee your affected arm will feel like a spaghetti noodle when you take it off!
I also bet that your grip strength will be less.
The second point I am trying to make is that elbow braces do absolutely nothing to help control and depress any inflammation or swelling that may be present.
Despite the fact that inflammation is part of the healing process for tennis elbow, most people think it’s a bad thing.
When performing strengthening exercises for tennis elbow, you can expect a bump in inflammation.
Applying ice can help in reducing pain, especially if your elbow hurts after doing the exercises.
To Sum Up
Here are the most common signs and what to watch out for when you have tennis elbow:
- The outside part of your elbow and upper forearm area is painful to the touch.
- Your level of pain increases when you make a tight grip on a small object or make a twisting motion. For example, gripping a coffee mug or simply turning a doorknob.
- You experience elbow pain when you use affected arm to pour a cup of tea, use a screwdriver, open the fridge door or use a mop or broom.
- Your affected elbow often feels very stiff first thing in the morning and may even throb and keep you up at night.
- Fully extending your arm out in front of you and then pulling your fingers up towards the ceiling causes severe elbow pain.
The above is simply a list of common signals that you have tennis elbow.
You are the one who decides how long your tennis elbow lasts.
You have options and it is up to you decide which treatment path to take.
For many people, going back and forth to Doctors or specialists in simply not an option.
Thankfully there is an easy way to start treatment at home.
If you would like to learn more about home treatment for tennis elbow, watch this video which explains all the details plus 5 simple steps to get started right now.