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How long your tennis elbow lasts, depends on how severe it is. Most people with tennis elbow feel better within a year. But it can last between six months and two years. Tennis elbow can sometimes come back again. And in some cases, it may need further treatment. There are lots of things you can do to help ease your symptoms. For more information on these, see our section on self-help above.
The most common tennis elbow symptom is pain and tenderness around the outside of your elbow and in the muscles of your forearm. This can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain that keeps you awake at night. You might find that the pain gets worse when you bend or extend your elbow or when gripping objects. You might also find it hard to do things like hold a cup or open a jar without pain. For more information, see our section on symptoms above.
Some people find that wearing a tennis elbow clasp or brace helps to ease their symptoms. It’s recommended you wear your support when you’re doing an activity that makes your tennis elbow worse, like typing at a computer for a long period of time. Then take it off when you’re resting. Although this won’t get rid of your tennis elbow, it might help to ease your pain in the short-term.
Some people use acupuncture as a treatment for tennis elbow. It’s a complementary therapy where fine needles are put into your skin at specific points to relieve pain.
Studies into acupuncture as a treatment for tennis elbow have had mixed results. Some suggest that acupuncture may help relieve pain for a little while, but others found there was no benefit.
If you want to try acupuncture for elbow pain, check that your therapist is registered with a professional body. The British Acupuncture Council and the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP) have lists of members trained to provide acupuncture.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
Any information about a treatment or procedure is generic, and does not necessarily describe that treatment or procedure as delivered by Bupa or its associated providers.
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- Personal communication, Laura McKay, Lead Physiotherapist at Bupa, 13 April 2021.