Tennis elbow pain is a symptom of tendon injury.
Overuse or stress can cause microtears in the tendon. This usually occurs because of repetitive motions of the arm or wrist. The longer you use an injured tendon, the more damaged it becomes.
The most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain on the outside of the elbow. Given enough rest, the tendon can mend on its own. But if you continue the activity, the weakened tendon may become more vulnerable to tear or rupture from a sudden accidental blow, fall, or forceful movement.
With early rest and treatment, an injured tendon is likely to heal with minimal scar tissue and maximum strength. While a recent, mild tendon injury might need a few weeks of rest to heal, a severely damaged tendon can take months to mend. Corticosteroid injections may give you short-term pain relief to allow you to start a rehabilitation (rehab) program. But they may weaken tendon tissue if given too often.
- Mild soreness in the elbow that comes and goes may improve in 6 to 8 weeks.
- Prolonged elbow pain and soreness may improve in 6 to 12 months. In some cases, the pain lasts for 2 years or longer.
- Severe elbow pain or tennis elbow that doesn't improve with 6 to 12 months of tendon rest and rehab may benefit from surgery.